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November 2011

FREE Reporting on the people, issues and events that shape our city









Page 17 | Bipolar disorder affects mother and son.

Page 27 | Paintings reflect man’s battle with cancer.

Page 12 | Would you lend a helping hand?

Inside the Calgary Journal... Editor-in-Chief Print Kathryn McMackin Editor-in-chief online Tessa Clayton Assignment Editors Shane Flug Vanessa Gillard Matthew O’Connor Photo Editors Derek Neumeier Derrick Newman Our City Editors Laura Lushington Jenni O’Nyons Calgary Voices Editor Thomi Olson Environment/Money/ Politics Editor Steve Waldner Healthy Living Editor Kim Wright Photo: Ashley Tymko/Calgary Journal

Pg. 23 |Go deeper into Alberta’s natural beauty with our reporter as she explores Rat’s Nest Cave in Canmore, Alta.

OUR CITY Sex offender rehab

Page 6 | Organization aims to reintegrate sexual deviants into society.

POLITICS A brave new world

Page 7| Guest columnist Lori Williams explains how Redford and Nenshi can lead us into a brighter tomorrow.

MONEY Investing 101

Page 8 | You’ve got to spend money to make money: investing tips for first-timers.

HEALTHY LIVING Midwives to the dying

Page 14 | Guides of terminal patients say they find beauty along the way.

FAMILY LIFE First-date fixes

Page 18 | One Calgarian shares her awkward dating experience.

ENVIRONMENT Is Bigfoot out there?

Page 21 | Bigfoot skeptic-turnedbeliever wants legendary “species” protected.

TECHNOLOGY Girl gamers


CALGARY VOICES Stuggling with anorexia


Page 9 | A look at sexism in the gaming community.

Page 13 | One reporter’s brave story of overcoming her eating disorder.


Page 28 | Pop music series aimed at drawing wider audience.

Page 29 | Canadian ball players cope with U.S. eligibility rulings.

Calgary Journal takes top honours at North American media convention The October issue of the Calgary Journal – the first to offer our revamped design and new sections based on research aimed at better engaging audiences – has been awarded Best in Show at the Associated Collegiate Press National College Media Convention in Orlando, Fla. Our category, for print publications produced less frequently than weekly, featured universities and colleges from across North America. This comes on the heels of our 2010 Pacemaker award for journalistic excellence, which was awarded to us by the same North America-wide organization. “We are one of the few student publications to take on community news, as opposed to just producing news for the campus community,” said the Journal’s supervising editor, Shauna Snow-Capparelli, an associate professor of journalism at Mount Royal University. “ So receiving recognition for this work is doubly important as we aim to grow our readership in the city. The Calgary Journal, published monthly in print and several times per week online, is produced entirely by students in MRU’s journalism program.

Technology/Living in Style/Books Editor Stefan Strangman Family Life Allison Chorney Things To Do Editor Ashley Tymko Calgary Arts Editor Tatum Anderson Sports Editor Bryce Forbes Supervising Editors Shauna Snow-Capparelli Sally Haney Production Manager/ Advertising Brad Simm ph: (403) 440-6946 Produced by journalism students at Mount Royal University, the Calgary Journal is a community newspaper that reports on the people, issues and events that shape our city. We are the proud winners of the 2010 Pacemaker award for North American newspaper excellence from the Associated Collegiate Press. ContaCt the journal: editor@cjournal.ca 403-440-6561

November 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca

U of C moves spirituality courses online Students call shift a ‘tragedy’

Derrick Newman | dnewman@cjournal.ca


he Faculty of Education, at the University of Calgary has chosen to shift its master of education programs entirely online. This includes specific spirituality courses, which has subsequently caused unrest amongst the student body. Self-realization, Sustainability and Well-being, a professional graduate program at the U of C, is one of the many making the transition from a traditional classroom setting into a fully online forum. Pam Blake, an open studies student enrolled in many of these classes, said she can’t understand the reasoning behind the shift. “I think the biggest tragedy is that when we are in these classes, people are sharing their personal stories and as you know when you are talking to someone, the personal story just kind of flows,” said Blake, a department head at Jack James High School. “If you have to stop and search for the ‘E’ key or how to capitalize the ‘M,’ then it’s not the same experience. “When you are watching people tell their story, they are expressing huge emotion around it. It’s that emotion that we relate to.” Blake, who has a master’s degree in art, leadership and administration has never taken an online course and said that being pushed into the environment is daunting “I know that when those of us over 50, who weren’t raised with computers in our cribs, think about going back to school, the online component can be intimidating unless you’ve kept up with electronics,” she said. This past summer, Blake partook in a nine-day intensive course entitled the Spirituality of Inspired Leadership – one of the courses that is making the switch. and said she can’t imagine how the course could be as satisfying a learning experience if it is conducted online. “I came home with a headache every day either from crying or from trying not to because you are so relating to the stories that (classmates) are telling you,” she said. “They are such gut-wrenching stories of their lives that it justifies the learning. Blake said she sees irony in people training for face-to-face based jobs in what she called a de-personlized online format. David Jones, an education professor at the U of C, will be at the forefront of teaching these new online classes which include Spirituality of Teaching Excellence; Spirituality of Inspired Leadership; and Love, Spirituality and Leadership. But even he said he’s not a fan of the

November 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca

Photo: Derrick Newman/Calgary Journal

U of C student, Pam Blake, said there were often emotional connections in her master of education classes and questions the program shift to an online forum. new online delivery mode. This is something student Blake said “The face-to-face courses have an she can’t get on board with. immediacy and an intimacy that may be “How can it be more expensive to hard to duplicate online,” he said. “In deliver it online than to have it in a spiritual circles it is very important to be classroom with technical support and in the company the professor in front of the teacher of you,” she said. “It just because the doesn’t make sense.” teacher gives off Jones said he feels an energy that confident he can desupports and liver the courses online vitalizes.” with the same effect Meanwhile, in as the face-to-face enmoving into an vironment. Although, online environhe said he will miss ment the U of C being in the classroom has also hiked and will have to find tuition fees assosomething to make up ciated with these for it. courses. “I know that David is — David Jones, “The online determined to keep it U of C education professor courses cost alive and find a way to $1,182 each, or do it online. God bless nearly double what the former face-tohim for trying,” Blake said. “I just don’t face courses cost,” Jones said. “Universisee how the intensity of the emotion can ties are increasingly being called to find come across.” more and more of their own funding, as Kimberley Holmes, currently in the government support has been shrinkdoctorate of education program at the ing.” U of C, with a focus on mindfulness in

“The face-to-face courses have an immediacy and an intimacy that may be hard to duplicate online.”

education, has been a teacher for over 20 years and has earned her master of arts in organizational learning and leadership. She has taken courses both online and in-person and said she can see the value in both. “I think some of the human connection is lost,” Holmes said of online courses. “However, I think it depends on the individual. Some people are very comfortable in the online environment and find it easier to share. “Half of my master’s program was done online at Royal Roads (University) and it was excellent. I think a blended environment is the ideal with some face-to-face and some online. I think many learners like online. Most graduate students are full-time teachers so the online format allows for flexibility.” Both Holmes and Blake said they agree a positive aspect of the online element of the classes does allow those living at a distance to still partake in the learning. “The key is to bring the human element and the technology together so we don’t lose the connection,” Holmes said.


New legislation could protect trans individuals Local advocates hope the move to adjust the Canadian Human Rights Act will deter trans discrimination


ear the end of September, two MPs from different parties each introduced a private member’s bill in the House of Commons that seeks to protect the rights of trans individuals in Canada. Bill C-276 and Bill C-279 were proposed in hopes of amending the Canadian Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression. In addition, both bills would amend the Criminal Code to include trans individuals as a recognized group, so that crimes committed against this group would be treated as hate crimes. Private member’s bills are introduced by MPs who are not cabinet ministers. Subsequently, MPs often have a hard time getting them to become law as the time allocated for consideration of such bills is restricted. However, the bills have sparked interest amongst the trans community, as it brings to light issues of discrimination and violence that trans individuals face. “Trans” is often used as a broad umbrella term that refers to a range of gender identities, including transsexual. Transsexual refers to a gender identity that is opposite to a person’s birth sex. One woman’s story Mercedes Allen is a writer and graphic designer who works in Calgary. Growing up, Allen said she always knew there was something different about her. “Being trans is like wearing a mask,” Allen said. “We keep trying to be how other people want us to be.” Allen was living in Edmonton in 2005 when she began the transition from man to woman. Allen said she tried to start the transition process when she was eighteen, but was confronted by people who refused to help, or would be approached by therapists would they could “cure” her. “What ultimately started me on the path to transitioning again was an act of violence,” Allen said. While still living as a man, Allen created a piece of artwork that was posted online, and showed a male torso trying to zip itself up, with female hands reaching out of it. A short time later, when Allen was coming back from work, a group of men were waiting outside her apartment. “One of them had a golf club and they asked for me by name,” Allen said. “When I answered to it they attacked me.


SILVIA PIKAL | spikal@cjournal.ca

“I was really lucky there was a neighbour who shouted at them and that was enough to scare them off. I wasn’t really hurt, but it terrified me.” After the attack, Allen said she lived in fear and did not want to go anywhere besides work and home. “I went into this shell,” Allen said. “I was so scared I didn’t want to stop at the grocery store.” After about six months, Allen said she reached a crisis point. “I started planning out a suicide attempt and then realized transitioning is the one option I hadn’t tried and actually seen through,” Allen said. “I had seen the negative that could happen, but I didn’t know whether something positive could happen. Once I did, it made a huge positive difference in my life.” Allen said since her transition, she

“Being trans is like wearing a mask.” — Mercedes Allen hasn’t experienced any violence. She hopes if either one of the bills becomes law, it will allow education around trans individuals, which could aid in working against transphobia. In addition, with greater sentencing around hate crimes, it could help to deter violence. “It’s a signal to people that you can’t discriminate on the basis that someone is transsexual or transgender,” Allen said. A TEACHER’S STORY Jan Buterman is an Edmonton-based teacher who was fired for undergoing sexual reassignment surgery. Buterman said he is skeptical about any immediate changes the amendment to the Canadian Human Rights legislation could bring if passed, but feels it is an important step for trans rights. “Social change takes a long time,” Buterman said. “Symbolic action is great, but will that make a tangible, on the ground change for trans people? It would be naive to think that.” In 2008, he was working as a substitute teacher in St. Albert, Alta., at a Catholic school. After being with the school for about six months, Buterman was let go because he transi-tioned from woman to man. In a letter, Steve Bayus, deputy superintendent of schools for Greater St. Albert, affirmed the decision in writing:

“Your gender change is not aligned with the teachings of the Church and would create confusion and complexity with students and parents.” Buterman contacted the Alberta Teachers Association (ATA) in response to the firing and they launched a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission. Buterman said he thinks his gender should be irrelevant to the school and he informed the school of his transition because he underwent a name change — requiring all new documentation in regards to a passport, driver’s licence and banking records. The Greater St. Albert Catholic School District offered Buterman a $78,000 settlement or a one-year teaching job earlier this year. The condition being he must never talk publicly about the case and drop the human rights complaint. Buterman said he was not comfortable accepting the settlement. “It came to the point where it was, ‘take some money and shut up,’” Buterman said. “I’m not okay with the idea of letting them cover up something I disagree with. This is an opportunity to have discourse.” Buterman is awaiting a decision from the Alberta Human Rights Commission. The ATA will no longer pay for his lawyers on the grounds that the cash offer was substantial. Buterman said trans individuals often face discrimination in the workplace. “There’s not an outright ‘if you’re trans you’ll lose your job,’ but as soon as they start the transition, somehow they become complete morons and get written up,” he said. “The timing is a little suspicious, but I’ve also been hearing more happy stories, like companies bringing in experts to talk with HR.” Both bills are a reintroduction of Bill C-389, which died in the Senate earlier this spring when the federal election was called. The next step for the two bills is a second reading, where they will be debated sometime within the next year, according to Randall Garrison, the NDP MP who introduced one of the bills. With the NDP now the official Opposition party, the bill could stand a stronger chance than the average private member’s bill. Allen and Buterman both hope that the new bills won’t meet the same fate as C-389. To follow our series on trans issues, visit calgaryjournal.ca

Photo: Silvia Pikal/Calgary Journal

Mercedes Allen holds up an image she painted to depict the struggles of a trans individual Facts and figures Gender identity is not explicitly protected in the Alberta Human Rights Act and is only explicitly protected in the Northwest Territories, where the NWT Human Rights Act states it is against the law to discriminate against or harass people because of gender identity. There are no figures around workplace discrimination and trans individuals in Alberta, but the PULSE project is an Ontario-based organization that seeks to shed light on the challenges experienced by trans people. Over a period of two years, they conducted several interviews and surveys with 433 trans people aged 16 or older who lived, worked or received health care in Ontario. They found that while 71 per cent of trans people have some college or university education, about half make $15,000 per year or less. Eighteen per cent of trans respondents had been turned down for a job because they were trans, and 13 per cent said they were fired because of their gender identity. One of five respondents were unemployed or on disability. Key terms • Gender identity – a person’s internal sense of being male, fe-male or something else. • Gender expression – how a person communicates gender iden-tity to others through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, voice or body characteristics. • Trans – sometimes used as shorthand for “transgender” but not everyone whose appearance or behavior is gender-nonconforming will identify as a transgender person. (American Psychological Association)

November 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca

Brentwood’s urban plan aims to tackle city sprawl Proposed plan could usher in new era of redevelopment in Calgary


ou get up, go to work, knock off a little early for a quick shower at home before meeting some friends at the pub and eventually heading to bed to do it all again the next day. Sound familiar? Here’s the twist: you did it all within a few blocks of the community you call home. A development plan for Brentwood proposes to enable residents to work, shop, sleep and play all within a few blocks. The redevelopment plan around the Brentwood LRT station, once seen as controversial, is now being heralded by some as a major turning point in the way Calgary is to grow. The Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP) calls for large-scale construction of apartment buildings, office towers, pedestrian-friendly streets, and a vast array of retail shops and restaurants – all within walking distance of the LRT station. “Calgary is going to grow regardless of what we do,” said Filomena Gomez, a long-time Brentwood resident. “The question is how we grow.” According to Statistics Canada and the US Census Bureau, Calgary covers an area roughly the same size as New York City, with only about one-eighth of the population. “We have to stop thinking as if we can keep growing until we hit the mountains,” Gomez said. “That’s just not sustainable. That would be saddling the next generation with huge infrastructure costs. Everything we build we have to pay to maintain.” The costs of urban sprawl are hard to measure precisely, but its effects are noticeable — for example in the traffic jams that many Calgarians face daily. Sprawl also takes a large bite out of city coffers in the form of police and fire dispatch, managing schools, and laying down roads and sewage systems to service new suburban communities. “Now Calgarians are realizing what gridlock really is,” said Gomez, who has lived in Calgary all her life. “Twenty years ago, you could literally drive from one end of the city to the other in 20 minutes on the Deerfoot. There was no real rush-hour traffic either.” Cheri Macaulay also lives in Brentwood and is an organizer for Civic Camp, a social networking organization for urban activists in Calgary. She praised the Brentwood ARP as the “first large-scale, truly transit-oriented redevelop-

GEOFFREY PICKETTS | gpicketts@cjournal.ca ment plan that is actually now being applied.” “All new developments (around the Brentwood LRT) have to be people-scaled and pedestrian-friendly not automobile-scaled.” If that type of civic thinking sounds radical, it shouldn’t. Kevin Barton, the senior planner for the Brentwood ARP, said: “Transitoriented development has been a strong planning principle for decades in other Photo: Geoffrey Picketts/Calgary Journal cities. The Brentwood LRT station is the centrepiece of the area redevelopment plan. “In Calgary, however, the surrounding landscape everywhere to satisfy most of their daily needs, but the is easy to develop and it is a city where the majority of new residents (in highrise apartments) will be driving far people were demanding low-density, single-detached less. It’s kind of funny.” homes for a long time.” While change may not always be easy for everybody While market demand may be changing, the new to swallow, Gomez urged Calgarians to look at the bigger development plans have not come without its detractors picture. in Brentwood. “Calgarians tend to be “The development is “Transit-oriented development has insular with their lives and going to bring an injection For us, it’s been a strong planning principle for communities. of a different demographic more about how to make to the community and this a better community for decades in other cities.” that scares a lot of people,” the next generation, for my Gomez said. “They’re used kids,” she said. — Kevin Barton, to the status quo and a quiet “In the long-run it will be City of Calgary senior planner neighbourhood.” the best thing not only for Barton said the biggest Brentwood but for Calgary,” concerns from residents she added. “were mostly about roads and automobile congestion in “With more jobs and housing on top of LRT stations, the community.” there will be more use of transit and far less people on “We have a strange relationship with our cars,” Gomez the road,” said Barton. said. “We want to be able to drive, and drive anywhere we He continued, adding that if the Brentwood project is want. But we don’t want anybody else driving down our successful and creates demand, the most likely candiresidential street.” dates for the next redevelopment plans are Lion’s Park, Barton also dismissed those concerns as hypocritiBanff Trail, Chinook Centre and Anderson LRT stations. cal: “It’s the pot calling the kettle black. They’re driving

Construction begins in earnest on high-rise buildings in Brentwood. November 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca

Photo: Geoffrey Picketts/Calgary Journal


Sex offenders and people who support them Local group aims to help convicted sex offenders integrate back into society GORDO WILLIAMSON | gwilliamson@cjournal.ca


here’s a faceless man standing in line at the mall. Maybe he’s been out of jail for a few weeks or so. He sees “the one.” The boy, barely 10 years old, is eyeing up the candy bars. The man is excited, and not in a good way. His fantasies begin with a mere thought. When these thoughts go unchecked, fantasies become real-life nightmares. He knows how twisted his thoughts are, but he can’t help himself. His thoughts need to end before he creates more victims. He picks up the phone and calls Tracy Robertson. Robertson talks him down and takes his mind off the little boy. While some people volunteer at their local soup kitchen, Robertson volunteers by dealing with what some might consider the “lowest of the low.” She volunteers for Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA). The Calgary organization operates under the guiding principles of restorative justice and rehabilitation. While many restorative justice programs attempt to right wrongs by bringing victims and offenders faceto-face, CoSA and its clients do not interact with the victims. “People are surprised at my comfort level,” said Robertson, a 42-year-old mother of two, who also works as a pastor at the Calgary Young Offender Centre. She works directly with convicted sex offenders in friendship circles, and makes herself available for phone calls from offenders who need help. When considering a place to complete her practicum for school, she asked herself, “Who would be considered lowest of the low?”

“None of them can be cured, they’re sexual addicts, that’s the way they get off.” —Tracy Robertson, volunteer for Circles of Support and Accountability.

The requirements of her program dictated her practicum had to be somewhere that pushed the limits of her comfort level – “somewhere where you haven’t been, and somewhere scary,” said Robertson. When one volunteers for CoSA, he or she must commit to three years, said Robertson. Volunteers first meet an offender who is in their last year of incarceration to form bonds of “friendship,” a term CoSA uses to promote the type of relationship it wants its volunteers to form with clients. Upon release from custody, offenders try to re-integrate into society with help from CoSA. In the beginning, volunteers help find them shelter and jobs. The volunteers also help their clients run errands and go for coffee with them. The relationship is structured to a degree, however.


For example, Robertson says she never lets clients meet her own children, aged 13 and 16.

The only way to prevent this change is by keeping the offenders from acting on their desires. This is partly done by helping clients develop strategies to control their sexual urges. It’s about stopping their thoughts, and dealing with them before their mere thoughts become reality, Robertson said. “None of them can be cured; they’re sexual addicts, that’s the way they get off,” she explained. “You can’t change that. It’s them; it’s part of who they are. What they learn is more strategies, like learning how to deal with triggers. They know if they react on the first impulse their life will go spiralling down.” When asked about her thoughts on victims of sexual abuse, Robertson admitted she’s unable to understand their experience. “I could never understand what a victim has gone through, never,” said Robertson. “Because I’ve never been a victim. So I’m not going to pretend that I know what that’s all about.” Regardless, she still stands behind her work with CoSA and her clients, saying the organization is still effective in their efforts. “They’ve hurt a lot of people and burned a lot of bridges, but I think the positive things I’ve seen in the guys has been what’s keeping me going back and keep staying on,” said Robertson.

Controlling Triggers Aside from helping offenders with their basic needs, CoSA volunteers provide their clients counselling through what they call “circles.” Volunteers go over clients’ parole conditions, address their clients’ concerns, and keep them accountable by making sure they meet the goals they set, Robertson explained. CoSA’s number one concern, according to Robertson, is preventing clients from reoffending. The group claims a 98 per cent success rate with their clients, Robertston said. It is through rehabilitation that CoSA hopes to lower the chances of offenders creating more victims, Robertson said. Sometimes, this is about controlling triggers, said Robertson. Seeing a little boy in the mall, for example, might set off a series of thoughts which might lead the offender to relapse into committing another sexual offence. When faced with this trigger, the client can call up the volunteer. The volunteer will stay on the phone and give guidance, and plan an emergency circle meeting to address the problem. CoSA defines these moments as a “crisis,” which often result in emergency circle meetings. To the group, the crisis is about stopping the thought process. To their clients, these are moments of panic; a hurdle they must jump to prevent themselves from reoffending again. Psychologically, it can be brutal, said Robertson “It’s a few days of absolute hell for them, because they can’t get past the image they are creating,” said Robertson. The key, said Robertson, is preventing sexual urges from becoming reality. “For the average person, if we’re somehow sexually frustrated, we can masturbate, and that would be the end of that...,“ said Robertson. “But for these guys, (masturbating is) just one step closer that’s not a high enough high, that won’t satisfy the urge.” The group’s clients need to keep pushing their boundaries to satisfy their sexual urges until they’ve created another victim, Robertson said. Photo courtesy of sxc.hu As Robertson explained, it starts with a fantasy and then Sex offenders living in the shadow of society can seek slowly unfolds into reality. support through Circles of Support and Accountability.

November 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca

Nenshi and Redford: Two Albertan leaders poised for change Both leaders are agents of change and face similar challenges


ithin a single year, two Alberta leaders have been elected on a wave of new ideas and new voter engagement. To be precise, it wasn’t so much the ideas were new, but those who embraced them voted in unprecedented numbers. Now that Calgarians have innovative leadership at the provincial and municipal level, two intriguing questions emerge; what do these leaders share, and how will they work together? Alison Redford and Naheed Nenshi share similar communication techniques. Reaching beyond established strategies, both leaders engaged their supporters where they lived and communicated, in public and virtual spaces. In Nenshi’s case, the highest profile dimension of this approach involves social media. He is active on Twitter and uses technology to enhance transparency. Nenshi has also cultivated a more pedestrian connection to voters. During his campaign, he went to coffee houses and people’s homes, and continues to converse with Calgarians on public transit and city streets. Similarly, Alison Redford met prospective voters in a variety of community gatherings; however, her efforts were stretched beyond cities to an entire province. The provincial leadership campaign was less energetic. Nevertheless, she was able to generate enough interest to put her in second place on the first ballot. The strategy in both the Nenshi and Redford campaigns involved getting them into the top three. This was desirable for three reasons. Firstly, it created momentum against the leading candidates and their comparatively complacent supporters. Secondly, they became a credible choice. They shifted from appealing candidates with no real chance of winning to serious contenders. A vote for them would not be a waste. Strategic voters could now vote for the candidate they preferred, and the promise of democratic renewal. Thirdly, and most importantly for the future,

Photo: Steve Waldner/ Calgary Journal

Redford and Nenshi hold common ground in how they appeal to voters, but Redford’s efforts were stretched to the entire province. their growing public support could be channeled into innovative leadership. Those tempted to resist change can sense the power of the voters behind it. Alison Redford built on this foundation of popular support by using the same sort of outreach that had served her so well in her ascent to the leadership. She met with the entire PC caucus signaling a more inclusive, consultative approach to leadership, and in the process generated a new source of talent and support. Both leaders are perceived as agents of change, but face a system of entrenched practices and interests that make innovation difficult, for better or worse. While Nenshi leads a less divided city council than his predecessor, he is one vote among 15 and must negotiate with council on an issue-by-issue basis. His primary source of leverage, broad public support, is offset by the fact that his council colleagues must be re-elected by opponents of some of his policy initiatives. By contrast, Redford is a party leader with an overwhelming majority in the legislative assembly. If she can build on her successes in consulting with caucus and the public in decision-making, she will

Lori Williams wield considerable leverage. In addition to these commonalities, our mayor and premier share an emphasis on pragmatism over ideology, and democratic renewal. Their many similarities lead some to hope for a more co-operative, constructive relationship between Calgary’s city council and the provincial government. It is promising that they share some aspirations, but perhaps more importantly, both have shown a willingness to negotiate disagreements and find compromise. They also share the Calgary tax base, an inevitable source of conflict over the best distribution of scarce resources. Mayor Nenshi will prioritize Calgary, or perhaps cities in general, while Premier Redford must balance the interests of all Albertans. In order to maintain and build support, she must be responsive to rural as well as municipal demands, and accommodate other elements of Alberta’s diversity – left and right, north and south. A positive relationship with Calgary’s mayor, given his national and international profile, could set a new tone for such accommodation, and for effective leadership. Similarly, Mayor Nenshi could advance his vision for enhanced municipal powers through a productive relationship with Premier Redford.

Photo: Derek Mange/ Calgary Journal

Lori Williams is an associate professor of policy studies at Mount Royal University. Williams’ areas of expertise include women in politics, political philosophy and ideology.

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Developers encouraged by local economy, says expert STEVE WALDNER | swaldner@cjournal.ca


lobal economic crisis. Recession. Worldwide financial collapse. With these terms being tossed around by the media so frequently, it seems that the financial world is struggling to survive, and that an individual making any sort of investment is asking to go bankrupt. Why then are the sights of large residential developments becoming more common in Calgary? One of these larger residential developments is NEXT, a 132-suite condo project in Bridgeland that broke ground four months ago. Shane Styles, the sales manager with Bucci Development, the firm that owns NEXT, said while there certainly is global economic turmoil, it doesn’t change the way his company does business. “We’ve been building for 53 years; we’ve seen recessions,” Styles said. “In relative terms, these problems may seem large, but they aren’t really that big in terms of things we’ve seen in the past.” Bucci Developments isn’t alone in their desire to build in Calgary. In

September, the value of Calgary’s building permits was up $387 million, a 68 per cent increase from last year. As well, the value of residential building permits, year-todate, was $1.7 billion, up 27 per cent from last year. Susan Thompson, business development manager of real estate with Calgary Economic Development, said new developments in the city are a sign that, despite global crises, the local economy is doing fine. “(The level of development) speaks to the health of Calgary, everyone sees that Calgary is continuing to grow,” she said. “Calgary is predicting growth, developers want to capitalize on that growth. It takes time to build a building, and developers are anticipating the market will need additional capacity by the time these projects are built.” Thompson said there were 33 permits this year that were above $10 million; of these, about 20 were for larger residential projects. Sano Stante, the president of the Calgary Real Estate Board, has been

in the real estate business for the past 26 years in Calgary. One can’t look at real estate from a global perspective, he said, and local factors are much more vital when deciding to develop. “The local economy is strong, and I think that real estate is a local phenomenon, and also a long-term being,” Stante said. “You don’t look so much at minor or short-term fluctuations.“

In the end, Styles said that despite the global worries of the economy, he has yet to see the effects in Calgary. “Of this moment, (NEXT) is 72 per cent sold,” he said. “In early October, all this stuff has been happening with the Euro debt crisis, and we’ve still sold a ton of homes in the last month. If everyone was freaked out about that kind of thing, they wouldn’t be buying these homes.”

Photo: Steve Waldner/Calgary Journal

NEXT is one of many new residential developments on the rise in Calgary.

Investing 101: top tips for newcomers

KATHRYN MCMACKIN | kmcmackin@cjournal.ca


or Lana Gojmerac, choosing the mutual funds for her registered retirement savings plan was a daunting task. “It felt like picking off of a questionnaire,” said the 36-year-old. “It was scary to blindly pick.” Taking the first steps into investing can be intimidating for many of us – after all, most of us work hard for our money. And parting with it is rarely easy, especially when considering the unpredictable nature of the stock market. The trick is figuring out which investment strategy is best for you. The choices for investments seem endless. There are mutual funds, Canada savings bonds, mortgage investments, guaranteed investment certificates and stocks, just to name a few. Three years ago, Gojmerac, an oilcompany accountant, took back the reins on her economic affairs and hired a financial planner, putting an end to her days of blind investment strategies. “The planner gave me more understanding of why you pick (a mutual fund) and the reasons made sense to me,” she said. “If you have a good financial


planner and you trust them, it’s easy.” Recently, Gojmerac dove even further into investing by enrolling in Basics of Investing, a class put on by Mount Royal University and the Alberta Securities Commission, an agency that aims to enforce Alberta’s security laws to protect investors. Michael Kolodnicki, an investment adviser from TD Waterhouse and instructor of the course, suggests investing newbies not be afraid to put their hard-earned dollars to use as soon as possible Just how easy is it to start investing? Here, two local experts share five tips for first-timers to keep in mind when looking for ways to put their cash to work. 1. OUTLINE YOUR GOALS AND TIME FRAME Kolodnicki advises potential investors to clearly define what they hope to accomplish with their investing, and whether these goals are long-term or short-term. For instance, aiming to build a cushy retirement fund is a good long-term goal, he explains. On the other hand, he says if you’re looking to make enough

cash to pay a monthly car payment, investing may not be the best option. 2. FIND THE RIGHT FINANCIAL ADVISOR While advisors aren’t a requirement for investing, Robert McCullagh, a principal advisor for Benefit Planners Inc., says a licensed financial advisor can help new investors navigate the marketplace. “Investing is like a relationship – it’s easy to get into, but complicated once you’re in,” says McCullagh. However, advisors do charge a fee for their services, which may deter some new investors; after all, the purpose of investing is to increase capital – not spend it. 3. START SMALL Before hitting the stock markets, Kolodnicki urges newbies to head into their banks. From here, newcomers can purchase a range of low-risk investments like mutual funds or guaranteed investment certificates. These can be bought at a variety of price points, so whether you have $20 to spare or $20,000, you can find an investment that works.

4. UNDERSTAND THE RISKS AND REWARDS “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” says Kolodnicki about the many different guarantees and investment opportunities out there. To reap a hefty reward, he says, there is often a hefty risk factor involved. But not all risk will result in a return, says McCullagh. “Generally, we believe that by taking more risk, we get more reward,” he says. “But taking a dumb risk doesn’t necessarily mean more reward.” Potential investors also need to be aware of fraud and can address any security concerns by contacting the Alberta Securities Commission. 5. KEEP YOUR EMOTIONS OUT OF IT Many investors easily get caught up in the excitement and emotion of the marketplace, says McCullagh. “There are two main drivers to our market – greed and fear,” he says. “Even if it’s just for the short-term, you still need to be prepared for the possibility that the market value could fluctuate.”

November 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca

Website details ugly side of online gaming Online forums could create platform for harrassment of girl gamers


n most places of North America today, sexism isn’t tolerated openly. But since the Internet’s explosion into the mainstream, the trend of online harassment towards females is becoming seemingly commonplace. “People will joke around and say comments, such as ‘OMG, it’s a girl!’ (They) proceed with sexual jokes such as asking about bra sizes,” said Angela Ta, a 22-year-old business major at the University of Calgary. Ta said she isn’t bothered or offended by these jokes, but finds them annoying after repeatedly hearing and reading the same ones. Comments, like those above, have become a routine for Ta, who spends an average of 20 hours a week playing games. Ta said she avoids talking on the microphone whenever she can, unless it’s necessary to communicate with the team to win a game. “I’ve never had to hide the fact that I’m a girl, but I do avoid letting people know unless I can’t avoid it,” she said. “I choose generic usernames and avoid anything that is even remotely girly,” she added. The website, fatuglyorslutty.com, was launched earlier this year. It highlights the growing trend of sexism and harassment in the gaming world. The website allows female gamers to share the creepy, comical, inane, and often deeply disturbing feedback they receive, while playing online video games, like “Call of Duty.” The website has been attracting a lot of attention throughout major online gaming news outlets like Kotaku, Destructoid and IGN. It has triggered an outcry of support for female gamers. As posted on the site’s “About” section: “Instead of getting offended, we offer a method for people to share these messages and laugh together. If having these messages posted online makes someone think twice about writing and sending a detailed description of their genitals, great!” The website’s reach has even expanded to YouTube, where several videos spoofing and discussing the online treatment of women gamers have been posted, using the “fat, ugly or slutty” tags. Crystal Kwok, 22, is a business major at the University of Lethbridge. Kwok is an avid gamer who spends anywhere from eight to12 hours a week gaming. “I got into gaming back when my dad bought a Mac when it was one of the first home computers available,” she said, “I was probably 10 or 11 and games only came on CD-ROMs because there was no Internet yet. “After we got dial-up, my dad started downloading these simple little point-and-click games for us... After a year or so of these games, my dad started to question whether this was appropriate since some of it was violent. Too late dad. Too late.” Like Ta, Kwok said she doesn’t always tell fellow gamers she’s a woman. “I don’t broadcast it but I don’t try to hide it either,” she said. “It’s just weird to have people treat you differently because of one little characteristic about you. Then everything relates back to that. If I’m good, I’m good despite being a girl. If I’m bad, I’m bad because I’m a girl. It’s something that just

November 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca

DANNY LUONG | dluong@cjournal.ca has to be commented on. how we played with a lot of locals and friends of Kwok said this treatment varies between games. friends.” For instance, she said games like “World of War“Now, we have a small group of gaming friends.” craft” rely on “some sort of relationship with the Ta thinks there are mixed reactions in the gampeople around you.” ing community about girl players. She said when other gamers find out she’s a girl “I feel that there is a stereotype among the gamsome start talking differently, treating her nicely, ing community that girls are ‘bad gamers,’” Ta offering to help, and forgiving her when she make said. mistakes in the game. “This might be true in most cases, but it is only Kwok said the most common questions when due to the lack of girls who play. they find out she’s a girl are: “Are you hot?” “Can “For every bad girl gamer, there are hundreds you make me a sandwich?” “Do you play games?” of males that are equally as bad (or worse). People or “Do you have a dick? Are you really a girl?” tend to overlook it because there is nothing speResearch from the Entertainment Software Ascial about a bad male gamer. sociation, indicates 42 per cent of all game players “However, it is rare to even encounter a girl in are women. any video game, so people tend to remember According to the group, women over the age of that particular experience and associate it with all 18 (37 per cent) represent a significantly greater girls.” portion of the game-playing population than boys Ta seemed somewhat used to this treatment, age 17 or younger (13 per cent). even though she said she’d like to see the perpeA quick look at the website, fatuglyorslutty.com, trators put in their place. reveals the approach male gamers take when ad“I’ve noticed that there are a lot of assholes dressing members of the opposite sex online. online in general. They have big egos and pretty While there are players that support the female much ruin the game for everybody. gaming community, there are also many who “People should just be nicer online and enjoy leave misogynistic, sexually degrading and explicit playing the game. Nobody cares if you’re the best comments that are not appropriate for publication or what your rank is.” in a community-orientated newspaper. For instance, the website features an Xbox Live message that reads, “Did your husband install a TV in the kitchen?” Another reads, “BITCH I hope U get breast cancer N die U slut.” [sic] The website displays a host of categories that suggest the types of comments most often posted. These categories include: “Death Threats,” “Lewd Proposals,” “X-Rated,” “Sandwich Making 101,” “Unprovoked Rage,” “Fat,” “Ugly” and “Slutty.” Bruce Ravelli, a professor of sociology at Mount Royal University, said: “I guess it’s a demonstration of society at large. Women have always been oppressed — look at how many men get plastic surgery compared to women. “We objectify women in every area of life, it’s not exclusive to video games.” Ravelli said he believes being anonymous online makes the harassment easier. “You don’t have to stand up and be counted, there’s no accountability so it’s worse.” Ta added that reactions from male gamers aren’t always bad. “The best thing I’ve gained Photo: Danny Luong / Calgary Journal from gaming is that I’ve met a lot Crystal Kwok is an avid gamer, who says she spends anywhere of new friends from Calgary,” she from eight to 12 hours gaming a week. Kwok says she has had to said. hide her gender because she doesn’t like being subjected to sexist “I started out playing with my comments and jokes. brother and cousin, but some-


Internet ‘rife’ with harassment for feminists

Hey Mom, what’s for dinner?

‘Boomerang kid’ returns to her parents’ nest Thomi Olson | tolson@cjournal.ca


Allison McNeely

epending on who you ask, the Internet is an open source haven for sharing, learning and communicating, or it’s a place rife with hate and intimidation. The virtue of the Internet — its deregulation — has allowed us to harass and stalk each other without consequence. It’s the “digital wild west.” Feminist blogs are a target for hate on the Internet. Why people attack feminist blogs is the same as to why people attack feminists in real life: they question and criticize traditional ideas about gender and sexuality in our society. That’s threatening. It’s a lot easier to attack someone online than it is to do it in person. The root of harassment lies with anonymity. If you create a username and learn how to mask your IP address, it can be very difficult for the average Internet user to determine the true identity of the troll who is attacking them. Furthermore, there is no specific section of Canadian law that deals with online harassment. The Canadian Criminal Code deals with cyber-bullying as harassment or defamatory libel, in which a statement is directed against someone that could seriously hurt their reputation. Under Canadian civil law, someone could be found guilty of defamation, creating an unsafe environment or be held responsible for actions that they could have foreseen happening, such as someone killing themselves as a result of online bullying. Online harassment often goes unnoticed and unpunished. Feminist bloggers, as well as other Internet users, are left to decide how to conduct themselves and how to respond to hateful comments online. Jennie Palmer, a co-host of “Yeah, What She Said” on CJSW 90.9 FM and a feminist blogger, has experienced her share of online harassment. Palmer wrote a blog post about popular sexist and offensive “de-motivational posters” she received in an email. She received hateful comments on her blog. Palmer says she was told to ‘go get laid’ and ‘accept that you have no life’.” Palmer chooses to leave negative comments on her blog and she advises feminist bloggers to be prepared. “Do your research and write respectfully, but don’t be afraid to be opinionated. Bloggers who let their personality and opinion shine through have the most interesting posts.” Palmer acknowledges there is a certain risk with writing online — namely that coworkers or strangers may think she is “crazy” because of her blog. As a feminist blogger, I’ve shared her fears. The Internet is a tough place for women, no matter what they do. A 2006 study at the University of Maryland found that users with a female pseudonym are 25 times more likely to be harassed online than users with male or ambiguous names. It seems the solution to cyber-bullying is what Palmer is doing — do your research, keep writing, screw the haters. But it can’t continue this way forever. The problem of online bullying and harassment is not unique to feminists. Gay teenagers are killing themselves because of unpunished harassment. There should be provisions that deal specifically with online harassment in our civil and criminal law. It should not come down to defamation or libel, because that can be extremely hard to prove in court. We need to publish harassing comments. Whether one responds to them or not is a personal choice, but refusing to let harassment make you feel ashamed is a start. Finally, we need to lose the idea that someone is “asking for it.” Just because you share your opinion online does not mean that deserve to be abused. Hate is hate, even in the wild west. Allison McNeely is a Calgary-based writer and editor. She also co-hosts Calgary’s only feminist/women’s radio program, “Yeah, What She Said.”

xx 10

Photo Illustration: Kyra Macpherson

Many young adults are asking their parents if there is any room left for them in their nest.


’m a “boomerang kid.” No, it’s not the name of my really elusive indie band. Nor is it the name of a gang I belong too. Although, that title would look pretty nice on the back of a leather jacket. At the ripe age of 23, I’ve joined the club of young adults asking to move home because of their financial situation. This time last year I was living a dreamy life overseas in France. During my year abroad, I developed a taste for a lifestyle I couldn’t exactly afford. My gluttonous consumption of ridiculously-priced wines, delicious macaroons and a few undeserved weekend trips to other countries left my bank account in disarray. Luckily, my parents willingly opened their spare bedroom to their travelling fool of a daughter and I unpacked my bags in August. It has been more than eight years since I’ve lived with my parents and younger brother, and adjustments have had to be made. It took only a few weeks for my parents to call a family meeting. The dishes weren’t being done, the dog was being neglected and my mom’s wine was vanishing. I took the blame for the latter. I never expected that at this stage of my life, I would be arguing with my brother over whose turn it is to unload the dishwasher or take out the garbage. It’s also become a morning ritual to battle for the first shower. No woman appreciates having to share a bathroom, let alone with her dad and brother. My dad refuses to shower in the bathroom in his bedroom due to his newly developed claustrophobia and the shower being too small. Of course it has been an odd adjustment for my parents as well, living with both of their adult children. My

mom has mentioned what a transition it has been to go from raising her children to becoming “roommates” with them. She feels it is all about finding a balance. Many people see huge advantages of living at home: free rent, yummy meals and of course, being with your family. Although I was excited to reap all of these benefits, I couldn’t help feeling a sense of failure. It was hard to admit that I needed my parents’ help. Other boomerang kids may find comfort in knowing many young Canadians are in a similar situation. A study done by Statistics Canada in 2006 reported that 43.5 per cent of the four million adults surveyed, aged 20 to 29, were still living in the parental home. According to an article published by the Canadian Journal of Sociology in 2004, sociologists believe adult children are returning home for numerous reasons. The ups-and-downs of our rollercoaster economy and people marrying at a later age have contributed to the increasing amount of boomerang kids. The article also states “increased post-secondary enrollment, and higher immigration patterns” have an effect on children moving back home, or may delay the process of moving out. These cultural shifts may have helped to lessen the stigma surrounding adult children living with their parents. I’ve since moved past my bruised ego and am trying to enjoy the little things about living with my parents. What a treat it is to come home to my baskets of laundry folded or to wake up to a pancake breakfast being made. I’ve never had a roommate go to those lengths. To the boomerang kids out there, let us appreciate our parents’ generosity while we can. Just don’t forget to do the dishes.

August 2011 November 2011| calgaryjournal.ca | calgaryjournal.ca

No girls allowed!

One woman’s past experiences in the all boys club of online gaming


MG! A girl playing games on the Internet?” Perhaps that question is slowly becoming a thing of the past. However, several years ago, I couldn’t count the number of times that skeptical question boomed through my gaming headset. I dabbled in video gaming as a wee girl of seven. My brother, Davin, who is five years older than me, loved playing video games. When we weren’t fighting, we were playing Mario Bros. together in a semi-civilized manner (I won’t get into the time I threw the “Duck Hunt” controller at his head). All fighting aside, Davin never mocked me for playing video games. It wasn’t until I was 14 that I was introduced to the online first-person shooter, “Counter-Strike.” I would play for hours on end, going to sleep only when the sun came up. The in-game voice chat was an exciting new feature to me. I could talk to local friends and to people I didn’t know who were miles away. We could share our experiences in the game, harmlessly trash talk each other, and just have fun. The Good Gone Bad I quickly came to realize that the “harmless” trash talking went far beyond who

DARA DEFREITAS | d.defreitas@cjournal.ca had better gaming skills. As a female gamer playing “Counter-Strike” -- a rare occurrence – it generally became the main topic of discussion. Soon, the innocent banter turned harmful. Whenever I talked in-game, I would first be asked if I was a little boy. I used to proudly state that I was a girl. This was followed by countless ridicule. Guys would say hurtful things like, “You must be fat and pimply,” or “Girls don’t belong on the Internet.” Today, I would laugh these bullies off, but at the vulnerable age of 14, their words stung. When I did better than my opponents – which was often – the torment would get even worse. In comparison to men at that time, female gamers were indeed fewer and farther between. It wasn’t often I discovered others of my kind while playing “Counter-Strike.” Perhaps when girl gamers started popping up in a male dominant hobby, and playing just as good as them, they felt threatened. Ryan Simmons, a 24-year-old male gamer, recalls the female gamer movement, especially in “Counter-Strike.” “I tried not to treat them differently, but I certainly thought, ‘Silly girls, this is ‘Counter-Strike.’ Just try and keep up with my manly reflexes,’ but some did though,” Simmons said.

You Can’t See Me Anonymity can be an extremely powerful weapon to those players who wield it on the Internet. People can hide behind the glow of their screens and say or do anything they want with generally no repercussions. They can don a new persona, blurt out harsh things, get in fights and the Internet police won’t burst out of their screen. Eventually the words got to be too much. I was afraid to reveal my femininity. I had to shut off the chat all together and play with nothing but the noise of bullet shells flying in the background. My game play experience was completely altered and I had to sacrifice the social aspect of video gaming because of it. In the past few years, the explosion of video games geared towards girls has brought many new powerful females to the scene. Though the mockery still lives on in the video game world, some women feel it has declined over the years. “I can’t tell if the community is becoming more accepting of female gamers or if we’ve all just got thicker skins after all of the harassment,” said 23-year-old Megan Jinks. Jinks, an avid gamer that has been playing since the days of Super Nintendo, said men are not entirely to

Reporter Dara Defreitas now feels empowered by her love of online gaming and no longer hides her gender. November 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca

blame for how they act toward women on the Internet. She said sometimes it is women themselves who ask for the scorn. “Some girls promote this stereotype of the ‘helpless’ female gamer . . . my frustration is more directed towards those girls who make guys think it’s okay to treat us like second-class gamers in the first place,” Jinks said. Today, I laugh at the mockery that still sneaks into my headset here and there. I feel like I have survived the battle and have become a more powerful defender. I was once afraid to express my passion of video games, but now I let my nerd flag fly. Who knew I would lead a club of 368 members who all share the same passion? Club N3Rd encourages outward geeky pride among all members who embrace video games and geek culture. No one has a problem with their leader being a female and I’m treated with utmost kindness and respect. We play games online together and I can happily keep the voice chat turned on with no fear of harassment. That’s truly all this nerd could ask for. To read a story about how to convince other women to join in on the online gaming fun, head to calgaryjournal.ca

Photo: Dara Defreitas/Calgary Journal


The world needs Good Samaritans We shouldn’t be afraid to help, when help is needed


t a recent family dinner, my Uncle Greg asked the table, “If you saw someone in need of help, would you help them?” On first thought it is an easy answer. I, for one, wouldn’t hesitate at offering a hand if I saw someone fall off their bike, drop their groceries or slip on ice. Saying no just wouldn’t be an option for me. But there is always an exception to the rule. My mom described her own experience where she was driving to work and saw a man laying flat on his back in the middle of the sidewalk. She said she didn’t see him fall, but noticed he wasn’t moving. Curious as to whether this man needed help, she pulled over the family SUV and got out. However, her skepticism had grown. She wondered if the man was waiting to pounce on her — an innocent bystander. Well, if recent incidents are taken into account, it seems as though my mother’s instinct may have been right. Here in Canada, there have been two recent cases of Good Samaritans being killed in their attempt to do the right thing. The most prominent of these instances was the stabbing death of 18-year-old Jamie Kehoe who tried to break up a fight on a Surrey, B.C., bus. Kehoe was fatally injured around midnight on Oct. 8. The RCMP said they are still looking for a tall, black male and a female who fled the scene. On the other side of the country in Aylmer, Que., Paul Hines, 57, was killed after trying to stop two men in the process of stealing a pumpkin in late September. Hines died in hospital one week later. Korey Perry, 19, has been charged with manslaughter in the case. Locally, a 26-year-old man leaving a downtown bar was stabbed at around 2 a.m. on Oct. 8. He was trying to break up a fight between two groups and was injured while intervening, said a Calgary Police Service press release. No charges have been laid. What is puzzling in all these is how an act with such good intentions could go so wrong? Each Good Samaritan obviously witnessed an instance where they thought their assistance could be beneficial. They couldn’t have known the other

person had a weapon or ill intentions. Perhaps they did it simply out of the goodness of their heart and for the good of humanity. Teachers of emergency response say the first thing a person should do when they see an incident is to survey what is going on. “In providing training to people, we’re hoping to provide them the confidence to be able to go and help in a situation,” said Kolby Walters, manager of training for St. John Ambulance’s in Alberta. “But we do recognize that when a situation does happen an individual is going to have to make that decision as to whether they’re going to help.” Meanwhile, a security video has been released in China of a little girl being run over by a van. After running over the girl with the front wheels, the driver pauses, continues to run over her again with the back wheels and drives away. An astonishing 18 people walk or cycle past her limp and bleeding toddler; some glancing down, others looking straight ahead. A second vehicle runs her over until finally, a lady, who reports say is named Chen Xianmei, comes to the little girl’s rescue. If I had a million dollars to give Chen, I would. But, maybe a simple thank you for caring about others would suffice. Sadly, while the girl was still alive when finally hospitalized, she died days later. Although all these cases happened under different circumstances, the basis behind them remains the same — they were trying to stop others from being hurt or injured. If we didn’t have people who turned out to be Good Samaritans, then how would we operate as a society? Would injured people lie on streets until a police or ambulance drove past by chance? Would there be no more outdoor markets because no one stops thieves? And would a person in need of a simple hand up in life have to wait for their karma to turn around? How would we be able to trust each other? It is my conviction that as humans we take the chance that bad things might occur. And yes, they sometimes do. But I bet, for every case of a Good Samaritan action going wrong, I can find 10 that have gone right. And this is what we must rely on.

“It is my convinction that as humans, we take the chance that bad things might occur”


Laura Lushington | llushington@cjournal.ca

Photo: Laura Lushington/Calgary Journal

In light of recent Good Samaritan attacks, would you be wiling to lend a helping hand?

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November 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca

The monster in my head: my struggle with anorexia An honest look at an misunderstood illness


ome women chew ice; some drink vinegar. The more daring ones swallow cotton balls soaked in water or sniff nail polish remover — they say the fumes make them dizzy enough to forget their hunger. The women I’m talking about are easy to spot in a crowd; walking ghosts with pale, translucent skin stretched over frail bones. They have chipped, sheer nails and veins that pop out like blue rivers. Sometimes, in the worst cases, you’ll see strange, woolly hair on their arms — the body’s last, desperate attempt to keep warm. I’m not talking about the women who exercise five times a week or try to cut out white sugar. I’m talking about the women who have been force-fed with a stomach tube. Women who count skipped periods as victories. Every single one of these women I’m talking about has been held captive by an eating disorder. No matter what you hear, it’s not about vanity. Beauty was the last thing on my mind as I began my struggle with anorexia nervosa. The battle begins I was 15. I was a perfectly normal weight, but I didn’t see it. In my head, my body became distorted to the point where I wanted to change it until it became unrecognizable. I just wanted to be thin. By the time I was 17, my nails were always chipped, my hair was limp and snapped easily and I had dark bags under my eyes. My thoughts were controlled by the cruel stitching on the back of my jeans that told me I was the wrong size. I reveled in the shrinking number and prayed for zero. I believed that once I whittled down to that size, I would finally be happy. I thought I could go back to eating normally anytime I wanted to. I would start eating again as soon as I lost 10 pounds. But I didn’t. The monster in my head It’s a mental illness. It warps your thinking. You become someone else. Taste lost all meaning to me. I measured food in teaspoons — breakfast was one teaspoon of dry cereal. Lunch was half a glass of orange juice. Dinner was a single spring roll. The summer before Grade 12, I started to keep track of calories. I had a notebook of what I ate. I counted the calories in my toothpaste, in the gum I chewed to keep me from chew-

November 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca August 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca

SILVIA PIKAL | spikal@cjournal.ca ing food — every calorie counted. I became a master at feigning stomach pain so I could skip a meal. I learned to hide my food in my napkin, or move food around my plate to make it look like I had eaten enough. I would leave the room or scream at my parents when they suggested I had been losing weight. When other people questioned me, I made some excuse or snapped at them until they stopped. I kept most people far away from me so they couldn’t bother me about my illness. No one else could see I was fat; but I could. It was clear as day, and I wouldn’t let anyone stop me until I got down to zero. It didn’t matter that you could count my ribs. It didn’t matter that you could wrap both hands around my thigh and they would overlap. I wasn’t skinny enough. “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels,” Kate Moss once said in an interview with Women’s Wear Daily. But I didn’t feel good. I felt fatigued all hours of the day. As soon as I got home from school, I would sleep until it was time for dinner. I was eventually diagnosed with anemia. Getting help It’s tough to talk about it with your friends or family — I felt ashamed and didn’t want to tell anyone. It took me four years, but now, at 21, I finally see food as fuel and not the enemy. First, being told I was anemic by my doctor was the push I needed to remind me what I had somehow forgotten — you can’t keep going like this. Second, an acquaintance approached me and told me about her struggles with bulimia. Being able to talk to someone who understood what I was going through was therapeutic, and she encouraged me to seek help. Third, another friend asked me if I wanted to join the swim team. I quickly signed up, reasoning that all the exercise would burn off the excess calories. It turned out that I loved swimming and I joined a club outside of school. I swam six days a week for months and in that time I learned to eat when I was hungry. I stopped counting calories, and eventually accepted I was never going to be a size zero and bought the right size jeans. I did not actually give away my “anorexic” jeans until this year. I had held on to a sick thought that I’d be that skinny again someday. But I don’t want to be that skinny anymore.

Photo: Silvia Pikal/Calgary Journal

Learning to appreciate the flavours in whole foods opened a world of cooking to Pikal and helped her to overcome her eating disorder. My changing relationship with food The truth is that the monster in my head that tormented me about my weight will never truly leave me. It’s a battle every single day to keep from counting calories or restricting portions more than I should. There are things that help, like learning to cook healthy food instead of eating everything from a bag or a box. Now, instead of scarfing down a pack of soup crackers and calling it lunch, I enjoy my food. I stand over the stove with sauce drizzling down my chin and relish the flavours found in whole wheat pizza with homemade pesto, stacked with mushrooms and zucchini. I don’t think about calories or how my jeans will fit. I eat until I’m full.

Eating disorder types • Anorexia nervosa is characterized by severe weight loss due to extreme food reduction. • Bulimia nervosa results in frequent fluctuations in weight, due to periods of uncontrollable binge eating, followed by purging. • Binge-eating disorder, or compulsive eating, is often triggered by chronic dieting and involves periods of overeating, often in secret and carried out as a means of deriving comfort. Source: Canadian Mental Health Association


Hospice staff called ‘midwives to the dying’ Ailing patients teach workers to live better lives, says Rosedale nurse

MELISSA MOLLOY | mmolloy@cjournal.ca


hree years ago on Christmas Day, Jerrad Landels’ 35-year journey through life came to an end. He was only 33 years old when he was diagnosed with terminal esophageal cancer. “He was on treatment for the first three months, and went right into surgery and had his stomach removed,” Sue Landels, his mother, says. “He was on a chemo program that nobody who wasn’t young and strong could have survived. He did that for his family. His daughter was only threemonths old.” Landels underwent these vigorous treatments at home for two-and-a-half years. “In the end it stops working. The body can only take so much. And the chemo just stops working,” Sue Landels says. It was Landels’ intense physical pain that led to the family’s experience with Rosedale Hospice. “He made the decision that enough was enough, and we respected that,” Sue Landels says. “We had to accept that and finish the two-and-ahalf year journey. ” Finishing the journey at the hospice brought a welcome-relief for Landels and his family members. “He loved it at Rosedale. He was so at peace there,” his mother remembers. Having the one-on-one nurses attending to his needs brought a new kind of relief for Sue Landels. “When he went into hospice I was still in that highgear mentality. It took me a few days to realize I didn’t have to do the caregiving anymore,” she says. “I could just be there. That made things a lot easier, you can go and you can be present.” “I don’t think of him in the past tense. I always think of him in the present. It depends on your belief. My belief is that the spirit goes on and never leaves us.” Sue Landels says she believes in “paying it forward.” Her experience with the nurses and other staff at the Rosedale Hospice brought her so much comfort she became a volunteer and works with the hospice’s patients and families to this day. “Whatever needs to be done, I’m there to help,” Sue Landels says. “I love every minute I’m there.” Modern-day stigma about death Death and dying are not the most popular topics around the water cooler – or anywhere else for that matter. “We definitely have a stigma in western culture about death and about dying. We don’t talk about it,” says Heather Gladstone, an end-of-life-care nurse. For Gladstone, death is a part of everyday life. For the past five years Gladstone has worked exclusively with terminally-ill cancer patients at Rosedale – one of seven adult hospices in Calgary. Patients who choose one of the seven beds at Rosedale have an average life expectancy of three months, she says. She adds that in many cultures, death is a natural part of life’s journey. “People take it as it happens. They talk about death and prepare for it. But, I don’t think we prepare for it at all,” she says. Despite the western stigma surrounding death, hospices like Rosedale take a revolutionary approach


Photo: Melissa Molloy/Calgary Journal

The memory lamp at Rosedale hospice lights up the chapel for twenty-four hours after a patient’s death. Friends and family members can write notes and memories in the book below.

and the hope and the courage that humans have,” she says. “People who are dying have so much to offer.” Gladstone has noticed certain commonalities between patients who stay at the hospice during their final days. “Love is what people talk about,” she says. “People want their loved ones to be with them. It’s never the material things – never ‘the boat I had.’ It’s the human connection.” On Life and Living Allan Kroeker, a Rosedale Hospice manager, has seen patients over the years between the ages of 20 and 100 years old. He says: “It’s cliché. You have to live your life – because you never know what’s going to change tomorrow. You have to take advantage of those moments you get and that time you have, and make the best of it. “I’ve seen enough people who haven’t had that opportunity, or have had it taken away from them.” It seems that many who have been touched by the people at the Rosedale Hospice have taken home some words to live by. For Gladstone, the people she has cared for have taught her that each day really matters. “Life goes on after you die,” she says. “But you know what? It will never be the same. People get back to normal, but it’s a different normal. “Our life has changed because you were here. Loved ones are never forgotten.”

to dying, Gladstone says. “Although it is sad to lose a loved one, it doesn’t have to be scary and horrible,” she says. Gladstone adds that unlike dying at home or in the hospital, patients at a hospice are cared for by staff who take a holistic approach to death. In fact, the nurses have coined a name for themselves: “midwives to the dying.” Gladstone says that working on a maternity ward you see something similar. “If you’ve ever experienced birth, the woman at some point goes into herself – she becomes very introspective. She has to, to get that work done.” “People who know they are dying are the same,” Gladstone says. “They withdraw – to different degrees. They sleep, and I think they are doing that work when they are sleeping. They are inside themselves and doing the work they need to do to get to the end of their journey.” A Life-Affirming Approach to Death After five years of being in the room as people go through life’s final transition, Gladstone no longer finds death to be a terrifying process. “Death is actually very beautiful. It brings tears to my eyes, and it’s not because I’m sad,” Gladstone says. “It’s often very surreal in the room, and very peaceful – especially if that person has achieved that peace that they hoped for. I feel much better about my own death.” Gladstone has also learned a lot about life and living from her patients and their families. “The patients have taught me about the strength

Photo: Melissa Molloy/Calgary Journal

Heather Gladstone has been nursing at Rosedale Hospice for five years. She says, “the job has made me feel better about my own death” November 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca

Capoeira strikes Calgary fitness scene Martial arts mixed with dance aims to wring the sweat out of Calgarians

GUILLERMO BARRAZA | gbarraza@cjournal.ca

Photo: Guillermo Barraza/Calgary Journal

Troy Millington leads his group of capoeira students.


he first challenge of capoeira is learning to pronounce the exotic name. The second is to endure the strenuous full-body workout it produces. Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that looks more like dance than a fighting style. It involves Brazilian music played with an instrument called a berimbau. The music holds the key to the tempo of the workout regime. Instructor Troy Millington says the workout is free flowing but visually a little strange. “To somebody who isn’t familiar with capoeira, it looks as though people are dancing,” Millington says. “To someone who knows a little bit of martial arts, it can almost be described as shadow boxing. You’re moving your legs through the air without hitting anybody.” Eclilson De Jesus started Capoeira Aché Brasil Calgary over a decade ago. De Jesus was the person that brought capoeira to Canada when he came to Vancouver in 1990. Since the inception of the Calgary chapter of Aché Brasil capoeira, this

rhythmic exercise has caught the attention of fitness buffs in all corners of the city. With several classes regularly held around Calgary, the instructors at Aché Brasil Capoeira offer exercise sessions that bring people back for more. How does it work? Participants create a “game” where there are no winners or losers; simply a show of one’s ability and what they have learned. Millington says capoeira uses the space all around participants to give them an unlimited sphere of movement. “This 360 degrees of movement not only disguises what someone is going to do, but encourages a full range of motion, which allows for a severe workout of the legs, the arms and especially the body core,” he says. Millington says it all starts with the simple movement called the ginga, which can be described – as most Calgarians will recognize – as a wider vine step straight from line dancing. “For someone who has been doing

the ginga for a while, it will become effortless and they could do it for an hour without being bothered,” Millington says. “Somebody who is new might do it for a minute and they’d be done.” He adds “despite one’s fitness level, it’s just a different set of muscles.” Bonnie Silver has been a student of capoeira for over two years. She says the Brazilian art is a total body workout she had not been accustomed to before starting it. “It’s complete,” she says. “Upper body, lower body, there is also cardio and stretching. You’re using your core a lot. Overall, core strength has definitely been a big change for me.” Along with the physical workout Silver receives, she says her mind becomes more active as well. “There’s certainly more clarity and confidence to what I was at the beginning,” she says. “I can’t begin to explain how much more confidence I have.” Millington attributes Silver’s improved confidence to the awareness one must have during a regular “game.” He says a student must always be vigilant and learn to read subtle movements the opponent makes so they’re not missing teeth in the morning. ‘The rhythm is vital’ What Berkeley Pickell noticed first about capoeira was the acrobatic

movements it incorporates when you become proficient at the art. He said it intrigued him, so he joined a class at the University of Calgary. Not only did he stretch and use parts of his body he never knew existed, he says, but he found it was a lot of fun as well. “It’s very up-tempo.” Pickell says, “Very quick paced. Not only that but it was a lot more fun than some other workouts I’ve done. “It incorporates a lot of Portuguese, as well as the Brazilian music and culture.” Millington says the music is important to the overall feeling of the “game” and inspires passion in a person’s movements. “The rhythm is vital,” Millington says. “(It) can take an experience and turn it from striving to lifting. It can take a massive edge off how tired you are and can even give you a jolt of energy. “I think it’s a really good workout because it encompasses so many ways of moving your body, and it challenges you continuously to find ways to make your body move. “And as soon as it becomes easy to do one thing, there is another thing that you can do. This diversity of movement that is always available to you in the context of learning capoeira is what makes the workout so challenging and what makes people love the art.”

Photo: Guillermo Barraza/Calgary Journal

Troy Millington cradles his daughter while instructing Bonnie Silver. November 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca


Moustache fun not just for guys

Female Calgarians get involved with Movember fundraiser


ust because you can’t physically grow a moustache doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy one. The Movember fundraiser involves men growing moustaches to raise money and awareness about prostate cancer. The movement started in Australia in 2003, and has been growing in support and popularity every year since, but has always been targeted at men. Now, some women are beginning to take more of an initiative to get in on the fun. Amber Craig, who is in charge of social media for the Calgary branch of the Movember Canada organization, says women can get involved in the cause in more ways than simply growing stylized facial hair. “On the Movember website, females can join a team or start their own,” she said. “Even though females can’t physically partake in the Movember actions of growing a moustache, they can still help by fundraising and letting people know about it.” This is Craig’s first year helping to organize the fundraiser, but she became involved last year by encouraging male coworkers to participate. She says she likes Movember not just because of the novelty of seeing men with moustaches, but because it’s a worthwhile cause. “I think it’s a really unique way of raising awareness,” Craig said. “There’s a lot of attention brought to breast cancer every year. There are various events for that, and this seems to be the biggest push for prostate cancer right now. I think it’s really important that people get involved with it because it is a very common problem right now.” Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer among Canadian men, affecting one in seven, according to the

website for Prostate Cancer Canada. Kendra Muller, another organizer within the Movember Calgary committee, said she joined because she believes women are also heavily affected by the disease, and can help the fight in their own ways. “I’ve got a dad, I’ve got a brother, I’ve got a fiancé. I’ve got many significant men in my life that I’m concerned about and want to make sure that they’re healthy,” she said. “It’s about encouraging those types of people to get checked and to take preventative measures that they might not normally take.” Aside from support through organizing and fundraising, Muller said women play an integral role through emotional support. “I think that people naturally assume a moustache can’t be sexy, and I beg to differ,” she said. “I absolutely think that moustaches can be sexy and that us just encouraging guys to grow them, regardless of how pathetic so to speak some of them can be, is a big part of it.” “We’re the ones that have to kiss those scruffy lips for the whole month. Being there to help them out, encourage them and cheer them on is definitely helpful for them.” Craig agrees with Muller’s sentiment about the positive feedback from men. “From the experience I’ve had with guys that I work with or are friends with, they absolutely love that women are getting involved with it,” Craig said. “It gives them a sense of support in what they’re doing. It’s not easy for everyone to grow a moustache, sometimes people have a really sad one, or it looks pretty greasy, but I think from the experiences I’ve had with people that are involved with it that they really appreciate what women do to help them

Photo Illustration: Derek Neumeier / Calgary Journal

Just because ladies can’t grow a moustache doesn’t mean they can’t get involved with Movember. out during that month.” Expect to see a lot of moustaches this November. According to the Movember

Nasal Spray provides alternative to flu shot I

t’s time for your annual flu shot. With anxiety you wait until it is your turn to go inside, where the doctor will unwrap a fresh needle to give you an injection. If you are one of those people who get goose bumps just imagining this scene, it should be a welcome relief that there is a new alternative to getting a flu shot. It’s now possible to get a flu vaccine from a nasal spray. The product is known as FluMist. The vaccine is a weakened version of the flu virus which very closely mimics how the body gets affected by the normal virus, said Glen Armstrong, a professor and the chair of the department of medical microbiology and infectious diseases at the University of Calgary. This means it looks like the real virus, but does not result in a flu. The injection is a killed version of the virus which is recognized by the body as a foreign protein,


Derek Neumeier | dneumeier@cjournal.ca

Armstrong said. The immune system reacts to the injection with antibodies which attack the protein. He said the spray activates the immunity in the same way the virus does. “It educates the immune system,” Armstrong explained. “When the normal virus comes, the immune system knows how to react.” Even though it seems easy, FluMist cannot be selfadministered. “As a biological product, it would have to be administered under the supervision of a physician, nurse or pharmacist,” said Howard May, of Alberta Health and Wellness, in an e-mail. The nasal flu vaccine can only be taken by people between the ages of two and 59 years. The spray cannot be administered to pregnant women or other people with a weakened immune system, like babies, Armstrong warned. “The spray is very effective in younger people

Canada website, Canada alone raised $22.3 million in 2010, and that number is projected to increase this year.

VERENA ISAK | visak@cjournal.ca from six to adolescence. The effectiveness falls off as people age,” Armstrong said. Therefore, it is better for people over the age of 60 to get an injection, he adds. The spray has been available in the United States since 2003, but only became available in Canada since June 2011. Armstong explained this was because of additional testing prior to it’s approval. Olivia Condon, a first-year student at Mount Royal University, is thinking about getting the nasal flu vaccine. She finds FluMist a “neat alternative to the shot.” “Some people have a phobia so I think it is more encouraging to offer a less invasive form of the vaccine,” said the 17-year-old student. “I have never gotten a flu shot, but I would get the nasal spray if I could afford it,” she said. FluMist has to be paid for. The vaccine is available at pharmacies for about $20 to $30.

November 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca

Adult child copes with bipolar parent One Calgary man learned to love his bipolar mother by letting her go

MELISSA MOLLOY | mmolloy@cjournal.ca


pending sprees. Dysfunctional relationships. Psychiatric wards. Crippling depressions. These are all terms that may describe a person in the grips of a bipolar disorder. But what happens when that person is your mother? The National Institute of Mental Health suggests some people suffer for years with bipolar disorder before they are properly diagnosed and treated. Neal Burgess, 34, said this was the case with his mother, who was diagnosed later in life, after Burgess had left home. “It didn’t occur to me until she told me about it. But looking back, and through learning about (bipolar disorder), I can see it,” Burgess said. Although Burgess doesn’t remember anything out of the ordinary happening with his mother’s mental health as a child, he’s since learned there are parts of the story he didn’t know. “If she did go through lows, she kept it hidden,” Burgess said. “She told me that she used to sit at home and cry a lot. But when I got home she’d put on a face.” A FAMILY ILLNESS Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that may intensify over time if not properly treated. For Burgess’ mother the disease had progressed to an unmanageable level by the time she was middle-age. This is when the relationship between mother and son began to get very complicated. “She was in northern B.C., living in a trailer and just doing horribly. And being (in Calgary), I couldn’t do anything for her,” Burgess said. “It was several years of up and down until she finally was able to manage.” Burgess’ mother eventually moved back to Calgary, but the chaos continued. “She probably went through more mood swings because she didn’t have stable finances or emotions,” Burgess said. “She was constantly moving around. At one point she had moved in with me and my wife for a period because she had nowhere else to go.” Burgess said having his mother live with them during the height of her illness took a toll on him and his wife. “She would come home and just unload all this stuff to us,” he said. His mother — who he said was bankrupt at the time due to spending sprees during phases of intense mania — had also developed a knack for secret-keeping. “Other things she’d keep hidden from us, like racking up her credit cards or relationships she was having, because she knew we would chew her out about it,” Burgess said. HITTING BOTTOM Bipolar disorder, like many other forms of mental illness, can reach life-threatening proportions according to PubMed Health websit, a part of the U.S. National Library of Medicine . It was one of these life-or-death situations involving his mother that Burgess remembers as the most harrowing. “The worst time we had was when she was seeing a man who was also bipolar, and at the time, he was homeless. He was a train wreck,” Burgess said. “It was New Year’s Eve seven years ago and I

November 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca

Photo: Melissa Molloy/Calgary Journal

Neal Burgess, 34, discovered he could help his mother, who suffers from bipolar disorder, by allowing her to make the choice to help herself. had to basically rescue her. She had taken too many sleeping pills. I had to go get her, and her boyfriend was screaming and yelling.” DETACHING WITH LOVE It was through situations like these that Burgess said he began to learn his mother’s illness was something beyond his control.

“After I learned about bipolar, I knew she couldn’t just snap out of it.” — Neal Burgess “I knew that my mom wasn’t her disease,” he said. “ I knew she was my mom. I just felt that I had to take care of her. But I realized that she had to help herself.” Just as Burgess was trying to let go of managing his mother’s illness, his mother was also taking steps to find relief from the disorder. “She checked herself into the psych ward about three times. I remember going to visit her on Christmas day,” he said. HOPE AFTER CHAOS For Burgess, getting help from Calgary’s Organization for Bipolar Affective Disorders came as a great relief. “It has been a saving grace for my mom and for our relationship,” he said. Education through the organization has helped

Burgess to make peace with the disorder that has affected the relationship between mother and son. “After I learned about bipolar, I knew she couldn’t just snap out of it,” he said. “But there were certainly ways in which I could see she wasn’t trying to help herself, and feeding into the mania. I was always learning that I couldn’t guide her. She had to do the leg work, otherwise it would mean nothing to her.” Kaj Korvela, executive director of The Bipolar Association, is familiar with stories like Burgess’. “It’s a difficult thing because people want to help their family members and they want to guide them and direct them,” Korvela said. “But it’s an individual journey for recovery.” Thankfully, for Burgess and his mother, the story has a happy ending. “Now she’s in a good place. We used to go to the (peer-support and family) meetings. She now facilitates those meetings.” HOPE FOR FAMILIES, HOPE FOR MEDICINE Dr. Peter Silverstone, a University of Alberta professor of psychiatry, devotes his studies to research for bipolar disorder. He said family members play a special role in the recovery of people with the disorder. “Bipolar impacts the wider family. It does not just impact the individual. We increasingly recognize how important helping the family is for recovery,” Silverstone said. “A supportive family is extremely useful to the patient.” Burgess said his mom has been doing well for years, and credits the right combination of medication, peersupport and a lot of dedication. “I know my mom will be okay now. Our relationship is good. She is in a good spot.”


Tips for tackling bad dates

JENICA FOSTER | jfoster@cjournal.ca


utumn McCabe, 43, walked out of her condo towards a man waiting inside a Hummer. The man peered behind his messy hair and said he had been sick with diarrhea for three days, but was currently on medication. McCabe was on a blind date. “I’m thinking, ‘I don’t even know you. I can’t believe you just told me that,’” McCabe said. Karen Howells, from Your Successful Dating Coach & Relationship Expert, said when a date starts to get awkward, there are four tips you can use to ease the tension: 1. Bring up favourites. Ask about favourite movies or foods to find something in common. 2. Talk about sports. Most guys like sports and if a girl is into at least one sport, the guy can go from there. 3. Check out the surroundings. If the situation gets awkward, there are more active options such as going for a walk, shooting pool, or engaging in a competitive game to get the blood flowing. 4. Laugh and giggle. Many people start laughing because they don’t know what to say, and it ends up being something comical between both parties.

Despite McCabe’s first impression, she agreed to continue on with the date and the conversation turned to jobs. She said he told her he hadn’t been working because he isn’t allowed into the United States anymore, and needed to travel for his job. When asked why, he told her he’d had some trouble in Atlanta. “I’m thinking this is all bologna because I’m in the travel industry, and this can’t be true,” said McCabe. Howells said asking what people do for work is an excellent judge of character. “Once you ask the question, if the date becomes all weird about it maybe that person isn’t as comfortable with who he or she says they are.” Evan Rasmussen, 22, agreed. “I think it’s a good tell of how they see themselves and what they want to do with themselves; how motivated they are, and where they will be in the future.” Howells said to move past small talk into more meaningful conversation, both parties must ensure the other is comfortable. Rasmussen said his uncertainty about how to approach one particular date created awkwardness. “I hadn’t talked to her for a month. So it was just a little weird that I called her out of nowhere and didn’t really bother to give an explanation why.” Howells suggested different ways of approaching dates for men and women. She said men approach dates focusing on what the woman looks like. Women visualize their life six months down the road. McCabe said at one point during her bad date, she got up and turned to rummage through her coat pockets. “He was staring at my body and he made this sound. I’m way too embarrassed to even mimic that sound, but he made this really gross groaning sound. “I turned around and just looked at him and said, ‘Oh, don’t. Oh, don’t.’ ” Howells teaches men to ask open-ended questions that allow them inside access to the person behind the figure. She urges women to slow down their inner fantasies; they’re there to engage in conversation for a couple of hours, not the rest of their life. But in McCabe’s case, it was the man who was planning ahead. McCabe said her date insisted she pay for the meal, saying he would get the next one. She said she let him down easy and told him they weren’t compatible. “A convict who lives at home, who’s not allowed in the (United States) and he has diarrhea. That was my date. That was my fabulous evening.”


Catching a friendship that got away Chit-chat with waitress reunites long lost pals SHANE FLUG | sflug@cjournal.ca


t was one of the last few days of summer, and the first signs of fall colours were showing on the leaves. Mike Robertson, 39, went for a float on the Bow River to reel in some trout. But on this trip he brought along long-lost friend Bobby Scott, 38. The two childhood friends were reunited after losing contact for more than 20 years. “It was perfect,” Robertson said. Scott called it a trip to make him feel “young again.” What led to that day on the water, however, began with Robertson stopping for a cheeseburger and fries at an Inglewood pub three years earlier. LIFE-CHANGING LUNCH Robertson, on break from his job as an auto body mechanic, decided that he would venture from his normal area for lunch. The venue of choice that day would be the Hose and Hound. The server, Nicole Strachan, said it wasn’t busy that day, leaving her with more time to chat with Robertson. Robertson said he noticed the pendant she was wearing – a threefold, the Celtic symbol for unity. Curious about the necklace, he said he asked her if she was Scottish. “Yes I am, so is my boyfriend,” replied Strachan, adding her boyfriend’s last name was Scott. With his curiosity growing, Robertson said he asked about her boyfriend’s first name and family, and realized Strachan was the girlfriend of his long-lost friend. Strachan said, “(Mike and I) were taken aback when we realized who Bobby was. What a small world.”

GROWING UP “Our relationship kind of started off a little bit rocky,” Robertson said. “He was the new kid in town, so I (had to) rough him up a little bit, and welcome him to the neighbourhood.” Scott chuckled as he agreed the friendship “probably” started that way. However, the two eventually became close friends, often golfing and fishing together. Unfortunately, Scott’s parents separated when he was a teen and he moved to Didsbury. In 1993, Scott moved to Russia not returning to Calgary until 2001. “The friendship never ended, but it was an abrupt intermission. He was always on the back of my mind,” Scott said. After Robertson contacted Scott in 2008, the friends found they lived surprisingly close to each other in northeast Calgary. Robertson lived in Whitehorn and Scott in Pineridge. “Really, really weird circumstances behind that,” Robertson said. LIKE OLD TIMES “When you could come back and connect with that person after that amount of time and still (are) able to do the things you love to do, like golf and fish, it’s just something....that makes you feel good,” Robertson said. Robertson acknowledged it took a few years after his encounter with Strachan to make a reunion with Scott happen. The two know not all rekindled friendships work out, but intend to try. “Both of us have actually made a conscious effort once we reconnected to stay connected. That’s the cool part of that whole story for me,” said Robertson.

Photo courtesy of Mike Robertson

Childhood friends, Bobby Scott, left, and Mike Robertson were reunited after 20 years.

November 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca

Mothers With Sons in Prison aims to support the broken-hearted Canadian mother finds solace with online organization


MELISSA MOLLOY | mmolloy@cjnewsdesk.ca

he story begins with a question: where does a mother go for support when her son goes to prison? That very question led former-Calgarian mother Susan Black, to discovering a “one of a kind website” that connects mothers from around the globe whose sons are serving time in prison. “There is little support specifically for mothers who have a son in prison,” Black said. “There are organizations that provide family support but only Mothers With Sons In Prison provides a venue for mothers to communicate with other mothers.” After discovering the organization, Black eventually became the executive director of its Canadian branch. A DOWNWARD SPIRAL Most mothers encounter the “physical, emotional and spiritual struggle” of having a son in prison after already having lived through several years of watching their son spiral through a devastating pattern of petty crime and drug addiction, Black said. “My son had joined in with a gang in Calgary when he was 14, and they ransacked my apartment,” Black said. “I confronted him with it by calling the police. I’ll never forget one police officer who said to me, ‘Even dogs don’t defecate in the place they sleep, and this is what your son has done here.’” For Black’s son, the downward spiral was just beginning. Despite several attempts to set him on a different path – including a long-distance move to stay with an aunt and uncle – Black said he continued to stay in the “same mindset”. This mindset resulted in 15 years in and out of prison. GUILT, SHAME AND A LONGING FOR ANSWERS “When I found out he was going to prison I collapsed to the floor and I cried,” Black said, her voice breaking. “What did I do wrong? You grieve for him and the loss that has been taken away — he was a good boy before the drugs.” She continually worried about her son while he was in prison, she said, and felt her role as a mother to keep her son fed and out of harm was no longer in her control. She was in a daze and had to “put on my pantyhose and be the business woman” going to work, she said. “At home, I just cried. You just cry.” HOPE ON THE INTERNET The question of where to turn for help was answered through a search on Google. “I just typed in the words mothers with sons in prison, and the website came up,” Black said. The organization is volunteer-run and was founded by an American mother, Lynn Hamilton, who writes on the website about a need to “raise global awareness of the silent cries, and deep emotional trauma” of mothers who have sons who are incarcerated. Hamilton writes that “the emotional aftermath is often overlooked by the judicial system and the public alike.” The website offers mothers in this predicament message boards where they have “an empathetic ear to help soothe their initial feelings of fear, anger, shock, confusion and isolation,” Black said. THE TOUGH GET GOING The organization is currently expanding its outreach capacities. “We are organizing a (toll-free) 1-800 number to accommodate mothers who cannot afford access to the Internet,” Black said, adding the organization is preparing to launch face-to-face mothers’ meetings. “We’re kind of like the Energizer bunnies,” she said. “A ‘no’ means nothing to us, we just keep going and going and going. We have to for the other mothers – they need to know that there is a place they can be.” MOTHERS AND SONS: A SPECIAL BOND Tony Kokol, a former inmate of the Bowden Institution, knows what a prison sentence meant to his own mother.

November 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca

Photo: Melissa Molloy / Calgary Journal

Tony Kokol, former inmate of Bowden Institution, holds a picture of his mother who lives in Edmonton. Kokol said it was his mother he thought of when he was left alone in his cell. “Every crime is a selfish decision,” Kokol said, his dark eyes downcast. “Any time someone is committing a crime, they are not thinking about their mother. That’s the last person they are thinking about. “But when that hardened tough guy is in prison, his mother is the first person he thinks about. Once the dust settles and the door slams, he is in that cell and the sound of the ring of the metal door gets quiet, and he is sitting on the edge of the bed with his head in his hands – it is his mom he is thinking about.” A MISSING PIECE Correctional Services Canada media-relations officer, Christa McGregor, said “inmates are encouraged to have positive family relationships” while incarcerated through things like private family visitations. For broken-hearted mothers around the world, Mothers With Sons In Prison fills a very specific void. “We are not an organization for the prisoners,” Black said. “We are here for the mothers. Mothers With Sons In Prison is a place where there is empathy and no judgment.” The organization also provides services that will ensure communication between mother and son while he is locked away, including transportation for mothers who have no means of visiting their sons, and care packages. MOTHERS HELPING MOTHERS When Black hears from a mother who has just found the organization, she said she wants to give a very clear message. “I want her to know that we are there for her,” she said. “No matter what mood or predicament she is in.... There are organizations that provide family support, but only Mothers With Sons In Prison provides a venue for mothers to communicate with other mothers.”


Manners and respect in doggy playgrounds Lessons in etiquette for off-leash areas

ALLISON CHORNEY | achorney@cjournal.ca

Photo: Allison Chorney / Calgary Journal

Dog trainer Reanne Heuston takes her “pack” of eight for a walk at a southwest off-leash area. Heuston says she tries to keep her walks to quiet off-leash parks because it helps her brood keep calm.


t’s a good day at the dog park. The sun is shining and Fido is calm and listening to your commands as he sniffs the trees and bushes. The off-leash dog park is bustling with activity. For many, this is doggy heaven on Earth. You round the corner and Fido perks up as the two of you approach another dog. This dog has his head low, his body in a straight line and is making direct eye contact with Fido. All of a sudden Fido starts barking and sprints towards the other dog in an aggressive manner. “When dogs are staring at each other, it’s like they are calling each other’s mama’s bad names,” said Reanne Heuston, dog trainer and owner of Pest to Pet Training. She said the staring can cause even well-mannered dogs to act out. Heuston, who sometimes walks 10 dogs at one time, keeps an eye on her pack and watches for this behaviour. If the stare becomes too intense, she is quick to

Word on the Street

correct the dog and changes what the dog is focusing on by offering a ball or a treat. She said there are big lessons to be learned in dog body language but added people usually don’t take the time to learn them. “Most people know how to read their dog until it comes to aggression,” she said. “Just because a dog is wagging its tail, doesn’t mean it’s friendly.” She said there is a common misconception about dogs with their hackles up. The hackles are hairs along the back that rise when the dog is angry or alarmed. Heuston said most of the time a dog is doing this because he is nervous or insecure, and not because he is aggressive. The hackles make the dog appear bigger in attempt to make what is upsetting him go away. Another common upset at the park is overly excited dogs that forget, or haven’t learned, their manners. “Some people’s dogs are overly rude and (the owners) don’t seem to care or they say, ‘Oh, he’s just being friendly,’” Heuston said.

She described dog manners as: coming when called, not jumping on other dogs or people, not mounting or putting a paw on the other dog’s back, and no intense eye contact. Heuston suggested settling your dog down before entering the park. She said dogs are excited and full of adrenaline, and if they don’t get the time to calm down they might forget their manners in the park. Rude dogs will put other dogs and owners on guard and attract negative attention, she added. Dog owner Khiha MacFarlane has had issues with other dogs approaching her American bull dog, Ellie-May, when Ellie-May is on a leash. MacFarlane said Ellie-May has some aggression issues that they are working on. Part of the work requires the dog to remain leashed. “It’s about respecting or remembering they are dogs and they’re not going to act like people,” MacFarlane said. Heuston said sometimes people don’t realize the dog on a leash needs space to be taught discipline. “Generally, if I see a dog on a leash I call my dogs to me and ask (the other owner), ‘Can they say hello?’” People who have control of their dog should be able to call their dog off. Doug Anderson from Animal and Bylaw Services said, “Under control means the animal is within hearing distance of yourself and responds to commands.” If the dog doesn’t respond to the command immediately, you could be facing a $100 fine that comes with a “dog not under control” charge, though Anderson said the fine is not common. He said in most cases, when a complaint is made the incident has escalated to the point where the “dog not under control” fine becomes secondary and is not issued. In many cases, the uncontrolled dog has wandered out of the off-leash area and the charge becomes “dog at large.” For owners that have experienced an outburst from Fido in the park, they know the embarrassment and frustration that can go along with it. “I know what it’s like to have the rude dog but I know what it’s like to work and make them behave and listen,” Heuston said. By being consistent in training and keeping Fido in a controllable distance, the dog park can be a great experience for both you and your pup. “(The dogs) get more exercise. They get to socialize and meet other dogs,” said MacFarlane.

The Calgary Journal visited Southland Park , a designated off-leash area, to find out: “What, if anything, is your biggest pet peeve about dog park etiquette?”

“My dog is still a puppy and sometimes other owners think she is being aggressive but really she’s just playing rough. People are protective.” — David Caplan, owner of Jada, a mixed-breed


“When people don’t clean up after themselves. Or their dogs are not in good control or are aggressive – but that doesn’t happen too often.” — Lori Bothwell, owner of Popi, the beagle

“The best way to explain it is, ‘Why bring your dog to a dog park on a leash – if you don’t trust your dog, why do it?’ And don’t judge the breed either.” — Wyane Elliott, owner of Millie, the pitbull

“Dogs jumping on you and people not picking up poop. That’s the most annoying because sometime you walk in it.” — Sharon Santoro, owner of Watson, the beagle

“Not picking up the poo.”

— David Comeau, owner Princess Paypay, a mixed-breed,

November 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca

Searching for Bigfoot in Banff Filmmaker continues quest to prove existence of ‘primate’

Roxanne Blackwell | rblackwell@cjournal.ca expedition. He is a husband and father, and says these experiences have not been easy on his family. He looks forward to the day when he no longer feels he has to risk his life trying to prove Bigfoot exists, he says. “My job is to get the species protection, implement those safeties so that they have a future, and then I’m done.” Should the species become legally recognized, Standing would have his research taken over by zoologists and primatologists who would continue to study the animals. As well, should the creatures become officially recognized, he says studying primates would be made easier, as researchers would no longer need to travel to other continents to find them in their natural habitats. But, for now, Standing’s goal remains the same: gain enough evidence to prove the species exists.

Todd Standing has videos that he says are proof of Bigfoot’s existence.


ilderness guide and filmmaker Todd Standing, who once set out to prove that Bigfoot didn’t exist, is now advocating for the rumored “species” to be protected. Standing claims he’s had multiple encounters with a troop of Bigfoot that live between Banff and Kootenay national parks. The Edmonton native has several videos which he says he believes are evidence of these encounters and proof of the species’ existence. His goal: gain legal recognition and species protection for what he says would be “the closest living primate to human beings.”

The Hunt for Evidence Standing says that after accompanying him on an expedition, a wealthy individual has offered to provide a $2-million reward for anyone who can produce a Bigfoot body, or a significant piece of a body that has died of natural causes. Standing says he believes providing DNA will be the final piece of evidence needed to prove the species does exist. As well, he says he feels once the species is proven real, the Canadian government will work to protect them. While not wholly discounting Standing’s work, Anne-Marie Syslak, executive director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s southern Alberta chapter, says that as of yet, Standing has proved nothing. “If they find Bigfoot and can prove that this is an endangered species, then we could get involved and advocate for the protection and the preservation of (the) species,” Syslak explains. “But to date we don’t know that this species exists, so we need to focus on species that we do know exist and their problems.” Skeptic-turned-believer In 2005, Standing was working on a paper aiming to prove Bigfoot were only a myth. Joined by a Cree

November 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca

Photo: Roxanne Blackwell/ Calgary Journal

Nations elder, a biologist and a paramedic, he went to the area between Kootenay and Banff national parks to prove the Rocky Mountains would not provide a sustainable environment for creatures like Bigfoot. However, during the expedition he shot two pieces of video he says immediately disproved his paper’s theory. He had a hard time accepting what he was seeing during his first encounter with a Bigfoot, he says, and originally believed he was seeing a man in a costume— most likely one of the First Nations people that had been trying to scare him out of the area. “I wanted to get up on that ridge where I saw (it), catch that man and take his suit off,” he says passionately. But as soon as he could figure out how to get up to where the “man” was, it was gone. Standing recalls that the tracks showed the animal would have had to rock climb a large distance and then leap across a large gully— something he says wasn’t humanly possible. When he came to terms with his realization that the animal was real, Standing says it was like “a punch in the face.” He began to tell people that not only were the animals real, but that he’d had a first-hand experience with them. “I became passionate about the reality of the species,” he says. Dangers of Research In 2006, Standing made a mini-documentary on his findings and toured around Western Canada, doing showings and collecting signatures on a petition to get the species protected. Going into the woods and collecting evidence has by no means been easy for the researcher. He’s had dangerous encounters with bears and cougars, and his team even had to call search and rescue when he went missing for three days during an

Finding public support Although he continues to search for a body of a Bigfoot during his expeditions, he says there is another way to get the species officially recognized: by gaining enough public support. To this end, Standing and his work will be featured in an upcoming episode of Animal Planet’s “Finding Bigfoot” series. He has also been in negotiation with other cable networks such as Discovery Channel, Paranormal Channel and Outdoor Life Network, the latter of which runs the program “Survivorman,” featuring wilderness survival expert Les Stroud. By working with someone like Stroud, who has an abundance of wilderness experience and a large fan base, Standing says he believes it might be possible to produce quality footage that would give his mission the public support it needs to succeed. Gary Cronin, another Bigfoot advocate, says to get the species protected solely on public support, Standing would need to produce clearer videos than the ones he has already released. Although Cronin, a researcher for the Californiabased Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, says he is unable to confirm Standing’s work is accurate, but believes Standing has good intentions, and that their missions are one in the same: to find undisputable evidence that proves Bigfoot exist. Cronin’s organization was founded in 1995 and is dedicated to investigating Bigfoot reports across North America. Standing is not alone in his claims of spotting Bigfoot in the Banff area, Cronin points out; there has been a long history of reports within the last 100 years of sightings within the Rocky Mountain slopes.

Photo courtesy of Todd Standing

Can you spot the bigfoot in this picture?



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Venturing underground One reporter takes a deep look at caving in Canmore, Alta.


could feel panic rising in my chest as I stepped closer to the slippery edge. Looking down was nothing but darkness, a deep hole in the earth. My hands were cold, my feet wet but adrenalin pumped through me, coaxing me to go forth. I let go of all of my doubts, closed my eyes and stepped off the edge. I conquered my fear, rappelled down into the dark caverns of Rat’s Nest Cave and began my first caving expedition. Caving is definitely an experience I will never forget. It was exhilarating, exhausting and made me push past my comfort zone (multiple times). I was in a group of five other people with our guide, Nicholaus Vieira. We all had very different reasons for going caving. Tyler Murray started his own bucket list of things he wanted to accomplish in his life. “When I turned 30, something changed in me,” he said. “I started making a list of all of the things I wanted to do: skydiving, rock climbing and caving. I felt it was time to start checking things off of my list.” Kevin Ho and Calvin Louie are two friends who wanted to try something adventurous. “It looked really interesting so I thought I would give it a try,” Ho said. Regardless of our reasons, we were all in for a big adventure. The hike up The 30-minute hike was a bit more laborious than I expected as it was entirely uphill. I am in decent shape but still found myself huffing and puffing by the time we got to the cave entrance. Don’t let this deter you; the view in itself was well worth the effort. Once we got up to the cave entrance, we began to put on our gear: coveralls, knee pads (which proved extremely useful), gloves, harness and a hard-hat with a headlamp. The entrance was through a locked metal gate in the side of a mountain and looked very small on the ground. Once you got close, however, you saw you could fit through with little effort. One thing I learned while caving is spaces are only considered small if you physically cannot fit through them. Once we all climbed up and got into the cave, it was pitch black. Guide Nicholaus shut the gate with a loud, echoing clang. All of a sudden, I was panic stricken. Thoughts of breaking that gate open and getting out clouded my mind. I didn’t think I was the claustrophobic type, but fear of the unknown ahead

November 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca

gripped me. I closed my eyes, swallowed my nerves and followed my group down into the darkness. The Cave The cave was extremely slippery. My shoes, which were running shoes not hiking boots, did not help in the least. I was surprised at how swiftly I adjusted to being underground. My adventurous side briefly came out and I was ready to take on whatever lay ahead. It was only a few minutes until we rappelled down deeper into the cave. Once we were all on the ground the journey began. My group was in the “Adventure Tour” that Canmore Cave Tours offers year-round. We were in the cave for approximately four hours and half of that time was given to us to explore. Guide Nicholaus would take us down into small chambers that had different tunnels leading in and out of it. He would wait in the main chamber where us new cavers would test our courage. When I say chamber and tunnel, they probably mean something different to you than to practiced cavers. A chamber is a room big enough that you can crouch or sit comfortably. You can also fit multiple people in these rooms. A tunnel is a passageway that is just large enough to squeeze your body through with minor adjustments. Hence the words “test our courage.” I have to admit, I refused to explore through the tunnels in the first chamber that we arrived in. When I saw all of the other people in my group squirming and jamming themselves into these small crevices, I felt my blood pump violently through me. Nicholaus tried to convince me otherwise, but I couldn’t do it. As the tour progressed, I tested myself more and more, but it was definitely a slow process. Overcoming fear Although I struggled to conquer my fears on this tour, I would not give it up for the world. Guide Nicholaus said something to me before I rappelled down the cave. I told him I was terrified and he replied, “Of course you are. It’s fear in life that keeps us alive and going.” That stuck with me and really made me push through. I repeated those words of advice to myself all day, but especially at the parts where I had to inch forward through a tiny tunnel on my back with my stom-

ach touching the cave walls. At one point in the tour, Nicholaus asked if we wanted to explore the cave in the dark. I honestly thought he was joking, but once we arrived at another chamber he asked us all to turn our headlamps off. We were consumed by darkness. It was as if the world just turned off. Everyone grew eerily silent as we awaited instructions from our fearless leader. You could hear the soft droplets of water hitting the cave floor. It was oddly calming. He just told us to crawl forward until he said stop. He also advised us to keep our headlamp off as long as we could. I cannot describe to you how badly I wanted to turn mine on. You had to feel your way through

ASHLEY TYMKO|atymko@cjournal.ca everything, every second. He assured us we would all be fine but the thoughts of falling down a hole or going the wrong way kept popping in my mind. After what seemed like hours, I finally made it safely to Nicholaus. It was over. I did it. That was something I will always remember. Experience Although I had a lot of trouble conquering my fear in the cave, it truly made me a stronger person and inspired me to try more activities outside of my comfort zone. Overall, caving was a unique experience. It was an incredible opportunity to challenge myself. I recommend it to anyone looking for something new.

Photo: Ashley Tymko/Calgary Journal

Taking a picture break in Rat’s Nest Cave in Canmore, Alta.


World’s largest animation exhibit launches at Glenbow Vanessa Gillard | vgillard@cjournal.ca


he Glenbow Museum was bustling on Saturday, Oct. 15, for the opening of its newest exhibit, “Watch Me Move: The Animation Show.” Animation is a visual medium that pervades our collective perception of pop culture, and seeing as its been around for 150 years, this shouldn’t be surprising. From Saturday morning cartoons to the ever-advancing technologies behind computer graphic imaging (CGI) or the newest 3D extravaganzas that have become a mainstay for moviegoers, animation is all around us — even when we may not realize it. “Watch Me Move” is the world’s largest and most comprehensive animation exhibit organized by the Barbicon Art Gallery in London, England. Calgary will be the only stop in North America before the tour moves on to Asia. Megan Bailey, Glenbow’s communication specialist, said it makes sense Calgary was chosen to be first on the exhibit’s tour. “Calgarians appreciate big cultural experiences and that’s what this is,” Bailey said. The exhibit features six sections on two floors, each with a particular theme. The films range wildly from a look at the first animation projects like Disney’s classic “Silly Symphonies – Skeleton Dance” (1929), to more experimental endeavors like the bizarre stop-motioninstallation exploration “The Rhinoceros and the Whale” (2008), which involves adult themes. There are lesser-known pieces by well-known filmmakers, like Tim Burton’s “Vincent,” narrated by Vincent Price, and plenty of iconic characters like Betty Boop and Mickey Mouse make appearances as well. Films that involve more adult themes are curtained to give parents discretion as to whether they are appropriate for the little ones. A timeline of the history of animation, encased presentation of animation cels, actual stop motion characters

Photo Vanessa Gillard/Calgary Journal

The classic sci-fi movie Tron plays on the big screen . and sculptures of the original conception of characters like Woody from “Toy Story” are displayed to give some tangible context to the largely spectator-orientated exhibit. There are 111 films to see, totalling 14 hours — impossible to see all the films in one visit. For this reason, the Glenbow is offering to put the admission price toward a membership, which has a number of other benefits, including access to other museums across Canada. The exhibit opening featured a first-time film screening of “C’est La Vie,” a film chronicling local animator Chris Mel-

nychuk’s battle with tongue cancer, which he eventually succumbed to. The film was ultimately finished by 19 animators when Melnychuk wasn’t able to animate the interviews he had done. People stood and some plunked down on the floor to watch the short film that was both humourous and moving. The Quickdraw Animation Society was approached to participate in the opening of the exhibit and Karilynn Thompson, programming and communications coordinator, said they were thrilled to be invited to screen a project. The society was looking for ways to fundraise for a memorial scholarship in Melnychuk’s name and this was a perfect opportunity. “This is the biggest animation show in the world, so it really fit with what we were doing anyway,” Thompson said. Along with the various films the exhibition features, a portion called the Discovery Room is where visitors can explore their inner animator by creating a spinning picture or thaumatrope (which creates an optical illusion by making two pictures look like one), or cel overlays (a clear acetate sheet with a character painted on it), which are used in many types of animation. Clarissa Hlidek was creating a blinking eye and said she was enjoying the exhibit. “I think that it’s set up really nice, a good environment,” she said. “There’s so much to see.” Sharmaine Warne, a museum educator, was on hand in the Discovery Room to introduce people to the handson portion of the exhibit. Warne said visitors were really expressing themselves. Whether young or old, the creative juices seem to flow when people are surrounded by such inspiring works of moving art. Explore your animated side at the Glenbow’s newest exhibit until Dec. 24th.

Rosebud Theatre brings ‘The Gifts of the Magi’ to rural Alberta JOEL DRYDEN | jdryden@cjournal.ca


ramm said. “One of the things I’ve learned from being united behind a singular purpose. part of the community, being part of the school -- more “It’s great. It’s like “Cheers” -- everybody knows your than anything Rosebud encourages you to find your name,” Ertman said. “If there’s anything we crave as own voice.” humans, it’s community. “The focus on creativity makes the economy and “In this place we have community. We know one attitude of Rosebud largely artistic,” said Randall Wiebe, another. We shoulder together.” 25-year-old resident “The Gifts of the Magi” opens on Nov. 4 and runs until A painter and a teacher, Wiebe said he feels Rosebud Dec. 23. encourages creativity as a way of life in a way other comFor more information, visit: rosebudtheatre.ca munities do not. “My parents told me, ‘Don’t go into the arts. You can’t make a good living,’” said Wiebe. “I can’t tell you how many people I meet later in life who say, ‘Man, people scared me away from my dream and I just haven’t been happy.’” The smallness of the community and the focus on creativity has brought together Photo courtesy of Rosebud Theatre Rosebud Theatre seems to be the lifeblood of this small Albertan town, said the town’s 100Morris Ertman. odd residents,


November 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca

he drive to Rosebud has been likened to a pilgrimage. However, the Rosebud theatre attracts tourists from all over Alberta with their productions. “You shed your jobs. You shed your lives,” said Morris Ertman, artistic director of the Rosebud Theatre. “When you arrive here, you’re ready to be entertained, challenged, wooed, brought in.” The theatre, an hour and a half drive northeast from Calgary, draws in close to 41,000 patrons per year -that’s 41,000 patrons to a town that has fewer than 100 residents. “There’s a town in Europe where they make a certain clock. Everyone’s employed by the clock factory,” Ertman said. “It’s like that. There are 100 people in town and the majority of those people are employed by the theatre.” The rest largely make their living working for businesses supported by the patronage of those coming to see the shows put on by the theatre. The theatre’s latest production is “The Gifts of the Magi” -- a musical re-telling of the old story of Jim and Della, two lovers who give up everything for each other. Jim and Della, a newly married couple just scraping by, are desperate to find the perfect Christmas present for each other while not making enough money to pay for their apartment. The play aims to bring the sights and sounds of old New York to rural Alberta. Cassia Schramm, 24, plays Della. She graduated from the Rosebud School of the Arts in September and was promptly cast as one of the lead characters. “I love it here. I’m happy to stay as long as I can,” Sch-

Telus Spark fires up

New science centre designed for all ages and interests, says CEO

Kathryn mcmackin



Photo: Shane Flug/ Calgary Journal


1. Photo: Kathryn McMackin/ Calgary Journal


fter two years of construction, Calgary’s new science centre – Telus Spark – has finally opened its doors to the public. Formerly known as the Telus World of Science, the facility boasts four exhibit galleries: Energy and Innovation, Earth and Sky, Open Studio and Being Human. Jennifer Martin, president and CEO of Telus Spark, said the new science centre was designed to bring “different things to different audiences.” Rob Mudd and his son, Robbie, who were huddled around a station in the Open Studio, were on hand for the unveiling. “We’re pretty happy to be here,” Mudd

said, adding he was looking forward to seeing what else the centre will offer down the line. Activities range from creating electricity, to drawing your own animation. Developments are still underway at the venue, with the city’s first HD Digital Dome Theatre anticipated to open in the spring of next year. Adult-only nights are on the calendar as well, beginning Dec. 8. The centre is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday to Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m on Friday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. To learn more about Telus Spark, visit sparkscience.ca.


Photo: Derek Neumeier/ Calgary Journal

Photo: Derek Neumeier/ Calgary Journal

1. Natasha Kane plays with props in the Open Studio. 2. The Energy and Innovation gallery lets visitors create electricity using their own energy. 3. The Open Studio gallery aims to encourage creative learning. 4. Premier Alison Redford was on-hand to celebrate the unveiling of Telus Spark. November 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca



Community Events “Somebody’s Child” Book Launch Nov. 15, Memorial Park Library Visit the Facebook event page: http://ow.ly/777xg

Nexen Holiday Craft Fair Nov. 17, 801 Seventh Avenue S.W., 10 a.m - 2 p.m.

Tibetan Fall Bazaar Nov. 19, Westgate Community Hall (4943 8 Ave. S.W.) Visit: www.albertatibetan.org

Hand Made Here 6th Annual Boutique Christmas Sale Nov. 19-20, Triwood Community Centre Accepting winter clothing for the Mustard Seed

Holiday Remembrance Trees Dec. 1, Queen’s Park Cemetary Visit: www.calgary.ca

Family Skate Night Dec. 14, Village Square Leisure Centre, 7 - 8:30 p.m. Visit: www.calgary.ca

Entertainment Music

Moscow Ballet’s “Romeo and Juliet” Nov. 15-16, Jack Singer Concert Hall For tickets visit: www.epcorcentre.org

tUnE-yArDs with Pat Jordache (18+) Nov. 16, The Republik, 1:50 p.m. For tickets visit: www.unionevents.com

Decidedly Jazz Danceworks: “The Great Jazz History Mystery” Nov. 17-20, The Grand Theatre For tickets visit: www.ticketmaster.ca

Lights Nov. 18, MacEwan Hall, 7 p.m. For tickets visit: www.primeboxoffice.com

Sarah Slean Nov. 18, University of Calgary Theatre, 8 p.m. For tickets visit: www.unionevents.com

Hey Ocean! with guests (18+) Nov. 18, The Gateway, 8 p.m. For tickets visit www.ticketmaster.ca

The Tea Party with guests The Reason (18+) Nov. 19, Flames Central, 8 p.m. For tickets visit www.ticketmaster.ca

“Stomp” Nov. 22-27, Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium For tickets visit: www.ticketmaster.ca

Kyuss Lives! with The Sword & Black Cobra (18+) Nov. 26, Flames Central, 8 p.m. For tickets visit www.unionevents.com

“Pianomania!” Nov. 26, Jack Singer Concert Hall, 8 p.m. For tickets visit: www.cpo-live.com


Photo courtesy of sxc.hu

It’s the month of Movember. Men grow a moustache to raise funds for Prostate Cancer Canada. The Movember Foundation says one in seven men will be diagnosed with this disease. A Gala Parté marking the end of the month will be held at Flames Central Nov. 30. Gordon Lightfoot

Pete Zedlacher

Nov. 28, Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, 8 p.m. For tickets visit: www.ticketmaster.ca

Nov. 24-26, Elbow River Casino Visit: www.yukyuks.com

K-OS with guests (18+)

Joan Rivers

Nov. 30, The Republik, 8:30 p.m. For tickets visit: www.unionevents.com

Dec. 5, Jack Singer Concert Hall, 7 p.m. For tickets visit: www.unionevents.com

Between the Buried and Me (18+)

Erica Sigurdson

Dec. 1, The Republik, 8 p.m. For tickets visit: www.unionevents.com

Dec. 8-10, The Blackfoot Inn Visit www.thelaughshopcalgary.com

“A Traditional Christmas” Dec. 7, 8 & 10, Grace Presbyterian Church For tickets visit: www.cpo-live.com


U.S.S. (Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker) (18+)

MRU Cougars vs. SAIT Trojans Women’s and Men’s Hockey

Dec. 8, The Gateway, 8 p.m. For tickets visit: www.ticketmaster.ca

Nov. 19, Flames Community Arenas, 4 p.m. Tickets at the door

Unearth & Chimaira (18+)

U of C Dinos vs. UBC Thunderbirds Men’s Basketball

Dec. 11, The Republik, 7 p.m. For tickets visit: www.unionevents.com

Christmas with John McDermott Dec. 15, Jack Singer Concert Hall, 8 p.m. For tickets visit: www.cpo-live.com


“The Wizard of Oz, The Musical” Nov. 23 -Dec. 31, Martha Cohen Theatre For tickets visit: www.epcorcentre.org

Nov. 26, Jack Simpson Gym, 8 p.m. For tickets visit: www.ticketweb.ca

Calgary Hitmen vs. Brandon Wheat Kings Dec. 11, Scotiabank Saddledome, 2 p.m. For tickets visit: www.ticketmaster.ca

Movember Mo Money Saturdays

Nov. 28-Dec. 23, Lunchbox Theatre For tickets visit: www.lunchboxtheatre.com

Every Saturday throughout November Desperados Nightclub Visit: www.desperadoscalgary.com/2011movember-mo-money-saturdays/

“A Christmas Carol”

The Movember Shave Off

Dec. 1-24, Theatre Calgary For tickets visit: www.theatrecalgary.com

Nov. 25, The Den at The University of Calgary, 9 p.m. - 1 a.m. Visit: www.su.ucalgary.ca/den

“Last Christmas”

Comedy Ron Josol

End of Movember Gala Parté

Nov. 17-19, Elbow River Casino Visit: www.yukyuks.com

Nov. 30, Flames Central, 8 p.m. For tickets visit: ca.movember.com

November 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca

Local artist paints road to recovery

Paintbrush helps Calgary man overcome prostate cancer


ooking at the bright smile on his face, and the passion for life in his eyes, one would never expect to learn that Doug Driediger had come face-to-face with a cancer that could have taken his life only six years ago. In 2005, the graphic designer and painter was diagnosed with an early stage of prostate cancer. Though all hope seemed lost at the time, his journey would later inspire him to reflect on his experiences. “When I first learned I had cancer, I didn’t know what to think,” he said. “Most men who have prostate cancer are in their 70’s, and there I was, 47 years old, being told that I too had the disease.” His wife, Gayle Kroeker-Driediger said his journey through prostate cancer was a humbling one. “It was rough at first,” she said. “I was really worried that he would turn inward and be engulfed by his own pain. There were a lot of things that he took for granted before, like his health, which he no longer had. Doug was humbled by the experience, and it has made him a stronger person.” After starting the recovery process from his surgery, Driediger, now 53-years-old, took a year off from painting. “It’s not really that I didn’t want to paint, but there was some healing that had to take place,” he said. “I felt that life was a bit overwhelming. Having just been though a very traumatic experience, trying to get back to day-to-day

Photo: Matthew Hayhurst/Calgary Journal

Since recovering from cancer, Driediger completed many self-portraits reflecting on his journey. This one, completed in 2011, is entitled ‘Judas.’ The caption for this painting reads: “Ah, Judas. I wonder about him a lot… what his motives were, the depths of his remorse. I believe we all have the ‘Judas capacity,’ given the right (wrong) choices. And yet, Jesus chose him, too.” life was difficult.” A year and a half after his diagnosis, Driediger picked up a paint brush and challenged himself to paint one selfportrait every week for an entire year, reflecting on his journey through the

Photo: Matthew Hayhurst/Calgary Journal

Doug Driediger has been cancer-free for six years now. His passion for painting helped him get through his traumatic encounter with cancer. November 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca

MATTHEW HAYHURST | mhayhurst@cjournal.ca

cancer process. His wife, however, saw it as crucial part of his healing process. “He wanted to stay faithful to his craft, but I saw it as a self-reflection,” she said. “His paintings really revealed where he was, his mindset and how he was coping. “He was so focused. I think he understood that life as he knew it had changed, and he was working it all out in his head. The paintings were a way for him to better understand himself, and where he was.” CLIMBING THE MOUNTAIN After having come to terms with his encounter with the cancer, Driediger started sharing his story with others. In 2010 he was asked to paint a mural for the Prostate Cancer Centre facility at the Rockyview General Hospital. Linda MacNaughton of the Prostate Cancer Centre worked closely with Driediger to create a painting that would pass on a message of hope to other men facing the cancer. “Doug brings things to life,” she said. “He is such a remarkable man who has such a passion for what he does. Every detail in his work has a story.” As an avid mountain climber, Driediger thought the image of climbing a mountain most related to his journey overcoming the cancer.

“When a lot of guys get this diagnosis, they think ‘I’m not sure if I can get up this mountain, this is a really big mountain, and I’m not a mountain climber,’” he explained. “I think the imagery of a man climbing a mountain suggests that by keeping at it, and not letting your sights off the top of the mountain, you will make it to the top. When you get up there and you’ve done all wyou can to overcome the cancer, the view you see when you reach the summit is transformative. That was my take on overcoming the cancer.” MacNaughton said that the portrait not only reflects Driediger’s journey, but “it reflects every man’s journey (through cancer) as well.” Driediger said because of his personal struggle with cancer, and his interest in sharing his journey with others, painting the mural for the cancer centre that was there for him every step of the way was a no-brainer. “The fact that I graduated from their program, and I painted the mural is really a message from me saying: ‘Hey, I conquered the mountain and so can you,’” he said “It’s a message of hope really.” Driediger’s mural and original painting are on display at the Prostate Cancer Centre on the sixth floor of the new parkade at the Rockyview General Hospital.


CPO takes on Pink Floyd, ABBA, Sting Pop music series strategic move, says marketing director

GEOFFREY PICKETTS| gpicketts@cjournal.ca


ama mia, here we go again. The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, or CPO, is continuing to expand its pop and rock music series, bringing audiences the sounds of Pink Floyd, ABBA and Sting this season. Michael Hope has been a bassoonist with the CPO for 30 years, and said he enjoys the energy that pop music performances bring to the audience. “What’s great about doing this kind of music is that we can tell it has an instant resonance with the audience,” he said. “Any time a performer knows that he or she is connecting with the people in the concert hall — that’s the best.” Marylou Bennetts, the CPO’s director of marketing and sales, recalled bringing her brother to see the orchestra for the first time last year during a performance of music originally by Queen. “At one point during the concert people leapt out of their seats to dance in the aisle, waving their phones around. He just looked at me and asked ‘Is this okay?’ before joining in as well.”

People jumping out of their seats and waving lighters in the air may be commonplace at rock concerts, but it is not an image normally associated with a night out at the symphony. “That’s not supposed to happen at a Beethoven concert,” Hope said. The continued expansion of popular music to the CPO’s performance lineup highlights the success of the shows for Calgary’s once-bankrupt orchestra. “When I first started here eight years ago we would do one rock n’ roll show per season,” Bennett said. ”Now we are doing four.” “Last year we had 28 sellouts and we’re seeing our audience grow not only for the rock n’ roll shows, but we had an eight per cent increase in our classics audience last year as well.” These increases seem to indicate the CPO’s marketing objective of using pop music to draw a bigger crowd is working. But is it a stretch to think that somebody interested in music by Pink Floyd might return to hear music by Tchaikovsky? The first “rock n’ roll hits” show of the season featured music from the Beatles, held on Sept. 23. First-time concert goers Clarissa McAndrews, 22, and Ralohn Hunt, 29, weighed in after the performance. “It was kind of unorthodox for an orchestra,” Hunt said. “There were guys with tie-dye shirts on in there. That’s not your regular orchestra.” “I thought it was really good, definitely different,” McAndrews added. Hunt agreed. “Even if its Mozart or Tchaikovsky, I would definitely come to hear them play again.” “We are Calgary’s orchestra and so we want to make sure that we are relevant to the community and playing a wide mix of music so that people choose us as their entertainment choice,” said Bennetts. For the CPO’s complete 2011/2012 schedule, visit cpo-live.com.

Coming soon to calgaryjournal.ca: A couple’s love of the CPO brings them back for 40 years running.

Photo: Geoffrey Picketts/ Calgary Journal

Marylou Bennetts and Michael Hope have seen the CPO’s fortunes rise in recent years.


At Stephen Leacock Theatre MRU

Tues Nov 15 9:00 am In the Name of the Family a daughter wouldn’t wear the hijab; her father couldn’t bear losing control Tues Nov 15 1:00 am The Market should an Indian woman sell a kidney; should a Canadian woman buy a kidney?

At River Park Church 3818 14A St SW

Fri Nov 18 7:00 pm Blood in the Mobile (Cell phone) your cell phone likely contains blood minerals from Congo Fri Nov 18 9:00 pm Shock Waves courageous journalists expose abuses of power in Congo Sat Nov 19 12:30 pm The Red Chapel a filmmaker and two Danish/Korean comedians offer a unique portrait of North Korea Sat Nov 19 2:30 pm The Chocolate Farmer a sustainable Mayan cacao farmer struggles with private land ownership rules Sat Nov 19 4:00 pm The Green Wave animated film of the protests in Iran in 2009, assembled from tweets and blogposts Sat Nov 19 6:00 pm The Storytelling Class an after-school storytelling project in Winnipeg fosters empathy Sat Nov 19 7:30 pm Breaking the Silence Karen refugees from Burma, now in Calgary; what is their story? Sun Nov 20 1:00 pm The Market should an Indian woman sell a kidney; should a Canadian woman buy a kidney?

Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra Rock’ n Roll Performances

Sun Nov 20 3:00 pm (Family film) Chandani: the daughter of the Elephant Whisperer a daughter wants to become a Mahout as her father, but the profession is male

“Dark Side of The Moon The Music of Pink Floyd” Friday, Jan. 27, 2012

Sun Nov 20 5:00 pm In the Name of the Family a daughter wouldn’t wear the hijab; her father couldn’t bear losing control

“Every Breath You Take A Tribute to Sting and The Police” April 20, 2012

Sun Nov 20 7:00pm Burning Water in Rosebud, an hour east of Calgary, t he water in many homes can be lit on fire

“The Best of ABBA” Friday June 1, 2012 Saturday June 2, 2012

Conversation Leaders Follow Film NGO Village All Weekend

November 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca

Academics come first for foreign players

International student athletes say they look for team support when adjusting to Calgary life


n the court, they look and play like any other players on the team — fast, skillful, prepared. Off the court, however, international student athletes are dealing with many different issues than their Canadian teammates adjusting to a new life as a university student athlete in a foreign country. According to Marc Dobell, athletic services co-ordinator at Mount Royal University, the most challenging part of being an international student athlete is that it is so different from their life back home. “I think there is a lot of culture shock and getting used to the different norms over here,” Dobell said. “They have to establish a new social network. As well, our educational system is different.” Grigor Kartev, from Calais, France, came to Calgary this year to play volleyball for the Mount Royal Cougars men’s volleyball team. Unfortunately, he has been unable to play this semester. Instead, he has had to take English for Academic Purposes, or EAP, classes because his English was not proficient enough to enroll in classes at the school. EAP classes are designed to help those with English as a second language prepare for university studies. “I expected I would be able to play right away, so when I found out I had to do my EAP first I was disappointed. But I understand,” he said. “If I pass my EAP I can play next semester.” There are three levels to EAP standardization. They increase from Level 1, which is for those with limited English, to the third level, designed for those who already have an understanding of the language. Kartev must score an 80 per cent average in his EAP classes — anything less is considered a fail — to play for the team next semester. The struggle of academically adjusting to university is also felt by Jovan Jankovic, a second-year environmental science major from the University of Calgary. He contacted Dinos head coach, Rod Durrant, while he was still in his home country of

Caitlin Gajdostik | cgajdostik@cjournal.ca Serbia to ask if he could play for the team. Although he was the one who wanted to come to Calgary and play volleyball while going to university, he has struggled with his English. “I have learned a lot of stuff both about school and volleyball. But I have learned it in English, my second language, not Serbian, my first language, which would be easier for me,” he said. Lack of English skills however isn’t the only challenge international athletes face. Homesickness is also something common amongst many of these athletes. Jordan Power, a first-year Cougars volleyball player from Photo: Caitlin Gajdostik/Calgary Journal Canberra, Australia, said adjusting to life far away from his family has Grigor Kartev (right) is unable to play this semester due to his Engbeen the hardest part. lish proficiencies. However, with the help of allowed him to play at a level not possible in Brisbane, teammates, adapting to life apart Australia — his hometown. from family has become easier. “It is more competitive here. We don’t have a col“As soon as Grigor and I got here, the team took lege league at home, so it is nice to be able to go to us out for drinks and welcomed us in straight away,” school and play volleyball,” he said. Power said. “So that has made it a lot easier for me While getting used to Canadian customs, such as being away from home.” celebrating Thanksgiving and eating turkey instead Teammate support is crucial for international athof seafood for Christmas dinner, he said he is happy letes, said Dobell. He said while there are no formal to be playing here with the support of his friends programs within the athletics department that supand team behind him — even if it does mean getting port international athletes, support from the team, used to our different traditions. coaches and staff is vital to helping these athletes Power agrees. excel. “I didn’t fully think the team would be this welWhile international athletes give up a lot to come coming, “ he said. “I had a few Skype sessions with to Canada to play university sports, said Dobell, there coach, so I knew he would be willing to help me out, is also a huge advantage to coming. but it is a lot more helpful when the whole team is Gregory Mann, a first-year biology student and behind you pushing you to succeed.” volleyball player at the U of C, said that being here

NCAA rulings plague Canadian hoop players M

aking the jump into the NCAA from high school is difficult enough without having to cross the border that divides Canada from the United States. Kent Ridley, head scout of Ridley Scouting, frequently deals with local athletes looking to transition their playing careers to the professional level. Ridley said the NCAA rule was stopping prep schools from enrolling a “LeBron James type” student that would pay or have a booster pay for their tuition (in many cases $15,000+) for a year that would basically be dedicated to playing ball rather than upgrading their marks. “It’s almost never that an athlete just shows up on campus and then makes the team without the entire preamble that comes with the recruiting process,” Ridley said. “Although it does happen a lot more in Canada than in the US.” Nineteen-year-old Trey Hull of Calgary, Alta., found out while attending Impact, a basketball prep- school in Las Vegas this past summer, that due to a change made by the NCAA in their eligibility policies for high school graduates he must wait another year before he is permitted to play. “If you get paid you can’t play college basketball because college players don’t get paid,” Hull said. “European players were basically playing professionally, claiming they weren’t, and taking

November 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca

playing positions away from students.” The changes the NCAA make from year-to-year constantly keeps new applicants guessing. Ridley’s best advice is simple. “Think about it early. The NCAA recruiting timeline starts in Grade 9. Your marks, your athletic development, and your networking start there.” Since Hull is unable to play, he said it’s become difficult to make demo reels to send to prospective schools and coaches. “Because of my situation the only thing I can do is train otherwise I would lose another year to be in the NCAA,” Hull said. Edgar Ndayishaimiye, 19, another NCAA hopeful from Calgary, says, “It messes people up because they think they can do certain things and then the NCAA introduces a new rule and that changes everything.” Now that his plans have been put on hold due to recent NCAA policy changes, Hull has discovered alternative ways to pursue his dream of playing basketball in the United States. Though it may be more of a challenge for Canadian-born players to gain access to the NCAA, recognition for those

SUNJEEV PRASAD | sprasad@cjournal.ca

who have made it is more notable today than it has been in past years, Ndayishaimiye said. “At first it was hard to make a name for myself,” he said. “Eventually with other people signing in the NCAA it opened up a bunch of doors. Canadians are on the map and receiving the respect that they’re due.” “If the NCAA doesn’t work out I could always play CIS in Canada but my main goal is to play NCAA.”

Advice for athletes looking to compete abroad: • Stay on top of your paperwork (visas, application forms, transcripts, etc.) • Keep updated on any ruling changes that the NCAA or CIS have made • If trying playing in the USA make sure your SAT exams have been completed • Always have a backup plan


Punjabi broadcast of HNIC cancelled

Bryce Forbes and Kirsten Glowa

bforbes@cjournal.ca | kglowa@cjournal.ca

Photo Courtesy of Harnarayan Singh

Harnarayan Singh (left), the play-by-play voice of Punjabi Hockey Night in Canada, seen here with Don Cherry and his co-host Parminder Singh (right). arnarayan Singh was living the life Unfortunately, the show is back he always wanted. in its original position now – off the A mortgage broker by day, Singh sat airwaves. perched high above NHL rinks, calling “Broadcasting games in Punjabi CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada in Punwas a great experience that the entire jabi at night. Hockey Night in Canada team was very “It was amazing,” he said. “Hockey proud of,” wrote Ball. “Each broadis something that I’ve loved ever since cast was another opportunity for us I was a kid and being able to be the to all celebrate two of the Canada’s voice for the games was a dream come strengths, our cultural diversity and true.” our shared passion for hockey. We will Unfortunately, it all came crashing to continue to be open to opportunities in a halt when CBC announced they were the future to do broadcasts in addicancelling the show, citing the lack of tional languages.” sponsorship to help pick up the bill. Singh said the broadcasts helped “This season we are unable to secure the game grow across the Punjabi a sponsor for this section of Hockey community, saying he heard stories of Night In Canada, and are unable to Punjabi parents enrolling their children offset the production cost for this initia- in hockey after finally understanding tive on our own,” CBC spokesman Chris the game on the CBC. Ball wrote in an email. “This broadcast brought three “However, if we are able to secure a generations together in a living room sponsor we will bring it back.” watching hockey,” he said. Singh said he still believes it was Vinnie Muchalla, a Mount Royal a sad ending for a show that helped Cougars hockey player of East Indian bring hockey to the masses. descent echoed the statement that his “It really helped the (Punjabi) grandparents face difficulty not being community feel more Canadian and bilingual. helped them relate to Canadian culture “In the end, the cancellation of the because hockey is such a fixture of programming is going to affect the Canada,” he said. people who just moved here and had In 2008, CBC started the broadcast one form of TV that they could underduring the Stanley Cup final between stand and now they don’t,” he said. the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Overall, he said he was shocked over Penguins. the cancellation, especially with the The support for the show grew over growing popularity for hockey. the next three years before being temTodd Millar, the president for Hockey porarily cancelled last October. Calgary, said he believes the game However, Singh said the backlash is growing among new Canadians in from fans helped CBC decide to bring Calgary, with the Punjabi HNIC only the show back to finish off last season. helping hockey. Ball said it was securing a single“Any time you have an opportunity season sponsor in CIBC that allowed to continue to promote our game in them to bring back HNIC in Punjabi last the various ethnic groups, I think it is a season positive,” he said.



Former NHL player gives back to First Nations B

rantt Myhres knows the problems that plague First Nations youth across Alberta. He lived with them. He battled them. He survived them. Now he’s trying to help the next generation of aboriginal students endure them as well. The former NHL player is in the process of starting up Greater Strides Hockey Academy in Calgary — a school for First Nation students that has a strong hockey component. “Ultimately, our slogan is building tomorrow’s leaders today, and that’s what we have always focused on,” said Myhres, who has a diploma in substance abuse behavioral health from Mount Royal University. “We want to give these kids an opportunity to get the skills in academics and hockey.” Myhres, 37, believes children who focus their energy on sports and academics have a greater chance of success. “Whatever that may be in,” he said. “It might not be hockey. They could be a welder, they could be an electrician, they could be anything. “It’s about building leaders and then going back into the communities and making a difference in the communities.” Growing up in Cold Lake, with a Métis grandmother, Myhres lived with the problems that are currently destroying First Nations — drugs, gangs, and teen pregnancies to name a few. “They just start falling off the grid at 14, 15, and 16 years old,” he said. Greater Strides wants to give them the chance to hone their skills in a healthy environment with a greater chance to succeed, he said. Myhres’ way out of the First Nations was becoming a player in the Western Hockey League and then the NHL. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning back in 1992, and bounced around the NHL, minor leagues and even Europe over the next 15 years. In 154 NHL games, he scored six goals and racked up 687 penalty minutes. It was during his time in the WHL that he developed a substance abuse problem, which eventually earning him a lifetime ban from the NHL. But he’s clean now — proudly coming up on four years, he said. “No matter how far down you’ve gone, you can always find your way out of it,” he said. “Basically, what I went through with my struggles, I was a lucky to make it out of that so I have the opportunity to teach these kids that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and to keep working towards your dreams and never give up.” While Greater Strides is still in it’s

Bryce Forbes | bforbes@cjournal.ca infancy from being a full-on hockey academy — Myhres said that is about two years away — he and his partner Steve Parsons, another former NHLer, have started hockey conditioning camps and after school programs across a few First Nation communities in Alberta. But Parsons knows it’s going to be a tough road ahead to get Greater Strides Hockey Academy rolling. “I would suggest that the biggest challenge for us at Greater Strides in the coming months is recruiting qualified and suitable staff,” Parsons said, who has experience in running “The Parsons Project”, another hockey academy in British Columbia. “It is important that (Greater Strides) staff is knowledgeable, enthusiastic, sensitive and qualified to work with these children, in their communities. “Hockey is a passion for many Canadians, and Calgary is a mecca for hockey, so hopefully we will be able to recruit the best coaches and leaders available.” Ryan Robb, a partner in Greater Strides Hockey Academy, said while it’s too early to declare the impact from Greater Strides, he’s confident in saying it will make a difference. “I’ve gone to watch some of their conditioning camps and I’ve gone to watch some of the after school programs,” he said. “They are getting many of the same kids over and over. For more information on Greater Strides, check out their website: www.greaterstrides.ca.

Photo: Derrick Newman/Calgary Journal

From left: Brantt Myhres, Ryan Robb, and Steve Parsons. November 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca

Local grappler fights her way to top of MMA Sheila Bird competes in and teaches the sport she loves DAVID GOLDENSTEIN | dgoldstein@cjournal.ca


heila Bird has competed in over 100 grappling matches — holding a record of 107 wins and 8 losses in the women’s division with eight world championship gold medals to her name. This year, Bird stepped into the realm of professional mixed martial arts fighting and decisively won her first two professional bouts in the 135-pound women’s division. She finished off both opponents in the first round. She recalls her first memorable grappling moment as her first loss at a high-level international tournament — a learning experience that she would never forget. “Losing wasn’t the big deal. It was mostly what lost the fight. I was in the match and physically shaking I was so nervous,” Bird said. “I had never felt that way before and it really affected me, but having said that, it was also the point in my career were I really knew that’s where I needed to go if I was going to get anywhere further.” She also finds the time to run her own MMA gym with her husband. It certainly seems like a lot to handle, but she said she has no intentions of slowing down. Having lived in Calgary her entire life, Sheila first took interest in grappling from husband, then boyfriend, Brian Bird, an accomplished second degree black belt Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner. Most commonly, grappling is the combination of various mixed martial arts like jiu-jitsu, judo, and wrestling. Competitive grappling sees two opponents try to control one another in standing position before going to the ground through use of these martial-arts, effectively trying to end the match with a submission.

Competing internationally in such places as China and Poland, she has been able to hone her grappling skills. Incorporating a stand-up skill set of Muay Thai and boxing to her already immense grappling game, Bird began competing in MMA fighting. “You basically feel invincible,” Bird said, describing the feeling of coming off of her second MMA-career win in July 2011 “ You feel strong. You feel prepared. You feel fast and you know you can win.”


Beyond the thrill of fighting, competing in both MMA and grappling has taught Bird to better herself not only in the gym but outside as well. “It’s taught me that if I set my mind to something I can do it, but it’s also given me the ability to recognize certain personality traits in myself that I could work on,” she said. She owns BDB Martial Arts Gym, which she runs with her husband, who not only coaches MMA for the gym but also doubles as her coach.

November 2011 | calgaryjournal.ca

Photo: David Goldenstein/Calgary Journal

Sheila Bird and training partner Brad Cardinal pantomime a right cross to the chin. “The dynamic is good because Sheila is a very focused competitor, and in training she listens really well and trains harder than almost anybody here,” he said. “That being said, from the fighting side of it, there’s a lot more emotion than with any other fighter, especially when I’m in her corner. I’m obviously way more nervous for her.” Outside of the gym, Sheila spends times enjoying other hobbies. “I’m into music, and in the past few years have played flute at weddings and I sing. I really enjoy that,” Bird said. “I have a lot of really close girl friends in Calgary and sometimes it’s just nice to get away with the girls.” Professional MMA fighter Brad Cardinal, Sheila’s training partner for about eight years, said: “Outside of the gym, she’s one of the best friends you’ll ever meet. She’s really easy-going and really fun to be

be ready to make the jump to the higher ranks. “We want to get three to five fights under her belt so that when she gets in there, her mental THE NEXT STEP game is just as strong Scheduled to fight and experienced as this November, her technical game,” Sheila put that he said. “On the techplan on hold due nical side, I think she to a sustained neck has the skills to go all injury that she will the way.” first fully heal. For now, Sheila is Sheila looks fortending to her injury, ward to the future but regardless of when of her MMA career she competes next, and considers the her love and passion favourable possibil- Sheila Bird, MMA Fighter for the sport of MMA ity of competing are unquestionable. in bigger-name MMA “It’s basically like the perfect job you organizations like Strikeforce and Bellator. could say, because I get to do it and I get After several more local MMA fights, her to teach it.” husband and coach Brian said she would

around. “Sheila is a champion. She’s a winner, that’s the best way to put it.”

“It’s basically like the perfect job you could say, because I get to do it and I get to teach it.”


Profile for Calgary Journal

Calgary Journal  

November 2011

Calgary Journal  

November 2011